The key recommendation of a Government-commissioned investigation into the recent violence inside the Manus Island detention centre is to process and resettle asylum seekers quickly and fairly.
“It is an appalling reality that in the 18 months since the first transfers to Manus, more asylum seekers have been killed there than have been processed and resettled. 1300 men have been left languishing indefinitely in harsh conditions,” said Daniel Webb, the Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Legal Advocacy.
“Prolonged indefinite detention in harsh conditions inevitably causes harm and leads to unrest. This report documents the tragic, predictable and preventable consequences that flowed from Australia’s policy,” said Mr Webb. “The Australian and PNG Governments must implement the report’s central recommendation to immediately expedite processing and resettlement.”
The review prepared by former public servant Robert Cornall, outlines the extreme nature of the violence against asylum seekers in February 2014, describing how one asylum seeker had his throat slashed from ear to ear and how Reza Berati was beaten to death by several attackers including a local Salvation Army worker.
The report makes detailed recommendations about improving security at the centre and other changes to centre management, administration and infrastructure, while emphasising that its central recommendation is to immediately expedite refugee processing and resettlement.
“The report confirms there needs to be an urgent overhaul of the current arrangements. Changes need to focus not just on increasing security but also on decreasing cruelty”, said Mr Webb.
“If it’s not possible to quickly and fairly process asylum seekers in a safe and humane environment in PNG – and recent experience certainly suggests it’s not – then the Manus facility should be closed and all asylum seekers returned to Australia for processing,” said Mr Webb.
“If the Manus facility remains in operation, the Australian and PNG Governments must ensure the safety of asylum seekers, address the inhuman conditions inside the centre and end the inordinate delays in processing and resettlement which clearly underpinned the unrest. The individuals responsible for the violence must also be held to account.”
A copy of the report can be found here: https://www.immi.gov.au/about/dept-info/_files/review-robert-cornall.pdf
For further information or comments, contact:
Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy, 0437 278 961 or firstname.lastname@example.org.