Who is responsible for processing centre in Manus?

The question on who is responsible for the running of the Manus Regional Processing Centre remains hanging in the Supreme Court of PNG after the court ruled its establishment was illegal and unconstitutional.

Parties in the case filed by former opposition leader, Belden Namah in 2013 returned to court today where the inquiry conducted by the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia continued.

The inquiry has been conducted to see if orders of April 26 are complied with. One of the orders was to have both PNG and Australian governments take necessary steps to cease the unconstitutional and illegal detention of Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Names of two Australian officials in charge of the Australian Immigration in Manus were submitted to court today. Persons currently in charge in Manus are Leonie Spooner, Manager Boarder Force of Australian Immigration in Manus and Myles Hannah.

This was done after the court on Monday received statements from PNG’s Deputy Chief Migration Officer for Refugee Division Esther Gaegaming. 

The next step now is for the court to identify who is actually responsible for the processing of the refugees held in Manus.

Lawyers representing Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato as well as the Chief Migration officer, Mataio Rabura, the state and over 600 ‘residents’ in Manus will return to court next Monday and present arguments on who is responsible for the centre, whether it’s PNG, Australia or both.

(Loop file picture of Ben Lomai, Human rights lawyer representing residents in the Manus Regional Processing center.)

Sally Pokiton