Manus Island refugees present petition to PNG Supreme Court
Refugees from Manus Island will today present a petition with 368 signatures calling on the PNG Supreme Court to hand down a judgement that will significantly determine their futures.
Manus Island refugees protest at West Lorengau Haus. Photo: supplied
A delegation of refugees will present the petition to the PNG Supreme Court at Waigani in Port Moresby this morning.
It comes after the April 2016 finding by the Supreme Court that the detention of asylum seekers sent to Manus Island was unconstitutional and unlawful.
Subsequent court action sought specific court orders in regard to the compensation and resettlement in safe countries of over 700 individuals held on Manus Island.
But numerous technical delays have been used to frustrate the case since 2016.
The refugees were forcibly evicted from the Lombrum detention centre on the naval base in November 2017, but they are now detained in three other areas closer to the Lorengau settlement on Manus Island.
The question of compensation for the breach of the refugees' human rights, both before and after the eviction from Lombrum, will be largely determined by the judgement.
To: Chief Justice, PNG Supreme Court
We, the undersigned, are asylum seekers, forcibly, and illegally brought to Manus Island by Australia after 19 July, 2013, as determined by the PNG Supreme Court in Namah v Pato, 26 April 2016.
Despite that judgement, we continue to be held in PNG by the Australian government.
Our future is uncertain and relies on the outcome of the case Boochani V Pato (SCAPP 17 of 2016). Crucial questions of our freedom and breach of constitutional and human rights are being determined by the judgement.
We have been held in PNG for almost five years; six of us have died while we have been waiting. Our case was argued before the Supreme Court on 6 April, 2018. It is now many months, we are waiting for our case to be finalised. For us, justice delayed is justice denied.
We thank the court for properly considering our case, but the judgement is vitally important for us to be able to get on with our lives. Many of us are sick and need treatment; many others are suffering mentally because we do not know our future. All of us need freedom.
We humbly request that our case is resolved and a date set in the very near future for the judgement to be handed down.