The Department of Immigration revealed in Budget Estimates that it plans to expand bed capacity at the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre to house up to 440 men on Manus when it closes the detention centre in October.
The HRLC’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, who has travelled to Manus three times to witness conditions first-hand, said the revelations are further proof that the government has no viable plan to provide safety for all of the men on Manus.
“The government has known for a long time that the Manus camp’s days are numbered. But it has never had a humane or viable plan for the innocent men trapped inside it. It's not good enough to just chuck a few extra mattresses on the floor and leave these men languishing in another facility round the corner,” said Mr Webb.
“These men have been detained for four years. Most were found to be refugees ages ago. They deserve a chance to finally begin rebuilding their lives in safety, not a temporary move to another unsafe place down the road,” said Mr Webb.
The Department also confirmed that shots were fired directly into the Manus Island detention centre during an incident on Good Friday and that nine people had been injured. A statement from the department originally said a weapon was fired into the air and no-one was injured.
“These men have been shot at, beaten and suffered the mental torment of not knowing if or when their ordeal would ever end. Manus is not a safe place for them - never has been, never will be,” added Mr Webb.
"It becomes clearer with every passing day that the only humane and viable way forward is the most obvious one - immediately evacuate anyone who is not resettled in the US to safety in Australia."
There are currently 56 men in the Transit Centre and 790 men in the Regional Processing Centre.
For further comments or interview please contact:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519