Leaked reports reveal that camp managers and security staff contracted by the Australian Government intentionally tried to make conditions in Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island even worse, putting the men who have been held in limbo for almost four years at greater risk of serious harm.
The reports reveal that a range of measures were being considered to coerce men to move into the PNG community - despite the serious dangers documented in the reports - or abandon their refugee claims and return home. These measures include limiting access to mobile phones and the internet - lifelines and small mercies to men locked in limbo for almost four years.
The HRLC’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, who has travelled to Manus three times to witness conditions first-hand, said the reports are further proof that Manus is a harmful and unsafe dead end.
“The government has known for years that the Manus camp’s days are numbered. But it has never had a decent or humane plan for the innocent men trapped inside it,” said Mr Webb.
“If settlement in PNG was a safe and viable option, it would have happened ages ago. Instead of using cruel tactics to force people down clearly unsafe roads, it's our government's responsibility to find a humane way forward for all,” said Mr Webb.
“Hopefully the US deal will provide safety for some, but it is our government's responsibility to ensure safety for all. Tearing down the fences is one thing, but this painful chapter only closes when each and every person trapped behind those fences is finally able to get on with rebuilding their lives in safety,” said Mr Webb.
For further comments or queries please contact:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519