Bid to stop deportation fails

The deportation of men found to be non-genuine refugees at the Manus Regional Processing Centre can go ahead after the Supreme Court refused to grant interim orders to stop it.

A three-man Supreme Court bench on Monday refused an application filed by 161 men who were processed in Manus and found to be non-genuine refugees.

The 161 applicants are a group from a total of 205 men who were processed and given the status as non-refugees.

These men asked the court to restrain the PNG Government, the National Executive Council and Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato, from deporting them to their home countries pending the court’s determination of the substantive application.

They were given deportation notices last month and filed an application seeking interim orders.

The court refused the orders sought on Monday because it was of the view that there were no serious issues to be tried that would make the court grant the relief sought.

The court was also of the view that the issue of processing is not part of the main claim that the 730 transferees put before it in the substantive application.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said there is evidence before the court to suggest that the processing has been done carefully with relevant laws applied.

He said the number of transferees appearing under the three categories (refugees, non-refugees and asylum seekers) reflects a carefully thought out and applied process that has produced a fair outcome of these asylum seekers.

“At the peak of their transfers in November 2013, the number of transferees reached 1,339. On 6 March 2017, the number was reduced to 888,” Sir Salamo stated.

“I would have to assume that the difference of 451 transferees have already been processed and no questions arises in respect of them.”

Of the 888 men, a total of 819 transferees were processed and 614 determined to be genuine refugees.

205 were determined as non-refugees while 69 still remain asylum seekers and their applications are under processing.

There are 730 applicants in the substantive case.

They commenced the proceeding in the Supreme Court seeking enforcement of their constitutional rights under section 32, 26, 27 and 42 of the constitution.

They sought orders that the respondents be restrained from deporting them to their home country, that they be allowed to be sent back to Australia, or in the alternative, to another country of their choice. They are also claiming damages for breach of their constitutional rights.

 The 730 men on Manus Island are asking the court to order their return either to Australia or a third country.

Sally Pokiton