The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea is due tomorrow to consider whether an important PNG National Court inquiry examining the lawfulness of the Manus Island detention centre should be allowed to resume.
Amnesty International, assisted by the Human Rights Law Centre, will make submissions to the Court that the inquiry – halted by a legal challenge funded by the Australian Government alleging apprehended bias on the part of the presiding judge – should recommence as soon as possible.
Human Rights Law Centre Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, said that it was important and appropriate that the National Court of PNG be allowed to assess the lawfulness of what was taking place on PNG’s territory.
“It’s been 22 months since the first asylum seeker was transferred to Manus under these so-called ‘processing and resettlement’ arrangements. In that time, two asylum seekers have died and about 70 have been seriously injured, but not one has actually been processed and resettled. Over 1000 men are just languishing indefinitely in conditions the UN have said are inhumane,” said Mr Webb.
“There are serious questions about whether what’s happening on Manus breaches PNG human rights laws. The PNG National Court should be allowed to answer them,” said Mr Webb.
Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher, Kate Schuetze, also emphasised the importance and appropriateness of the National Court inquiry.
“Amnesty International is the only independent non-government organisation to have publicly reported on conditions on Manus. The National Court case is an important opportunity to address the key human rights concerns raised in our report last year. We will be asking the Supreme Court to allow the inquiry to resume as soon as possible,” said Ms Schuetze.
In March Mr Webb and Ms Schuetze inspected Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island as part of the PNG National Court’s inquiry.
For further information or comments, contact:
Daniel Webb, Human Rights Law Centre Director of Legal Advocacy, 0437 278 961 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International Pacific Researcher, 0438 305 235 or Kate.Schuetze@amnesty.org