Media release from the Refugee Action Coalition
Immigration tries to intimidate first removals from Manus Island: injunctions sought
Late yesterday afternoon, Thursday 13 August, Immigration authorities used a show of force by PNG police as the first phase of attempting forced removals of rejected asylum seekers on Manus Island.
Up to six PNG police marched into Oscar Compound to remove a 27 year-old Iranian asylum seeker. The man was been placed in a newly built solitary confinement prison compound inside the detention centre, and been given a notice that PNG immigration
has completed a deportation risk assessment and found ‘there is no legal barrier to your removal …’
It is understood that the Iranian man was transferred to Port Moresby on Friday 14 August.
It is expected that up to 10 other “double-negative” asylum seekers could get similar treatment in coming days. The ‘failed’ asylum seekers have been told they can still access financial incentives with IOM if they voluntarily agree to return home.
The very public use of the PNG police in Oscar is clearly an effort to intimidate asylum seekers into voluntarily signing to return to their home countries.
Papua New Guinea has no arrangements with Iran to accept forced removal of asylum seekers.
“There is no reason to believe that PNG is any more able to arrange forced removals to Iran, than Australia” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “The use of force is designed to coerce people into signing to return ‘voluntarily’.”
The action against the ‘double-negatives’ also comes on the eve of final directions hearings for Supreme Court challenge in Port Moresby, scheduled for Monday 17 August.
“The Immigration Department is trying to preempt the Supreme Court challenge“ said Rintoul, “We will seek injunctions in the Supreme Court to prevent any removals from Manus Island, before there is a final consideration of the Supreme Court constitutional challenge to the detention centre” said Rintoul.
“The Australian and PNG government have been abusing asylum seekers human rights since they were first moved to Manus Island. The Immigration Department would like nothing better that to remove some of the evidence by getting some of them to sign to return to their countries.”
“Immigration should halt any moves to forcibly remove asylum seekers from Manus Island. They have always been Australia’s responsibility. In the name of deterrence they have been the victims of the worst offshore mistreatment. They should all be brought to Australia.”
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