30 May 2002

PNG court to decide on lawyer access to Manus asylum seekers

10:11 am on 30 May 2002

Papua New Guinea lawyer, Powes Parkop, says the National Court will decide next week whether to grant him access to the asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Mr Parkop says the access application was filed last week and a decision should be made by June 5th.

The application is part of legal action against the PNG government for alleged breaches in the national constitution.

Mr Parkop says his government has denied the mainly Afghan asylum seekers basic human rights such as the freedom of movement.

He says he hopes to talk to the asylum seekers about their rights under the constitution and to get their permission to act on their behalf.

"this whole proceedings could be decided by simply us going in to the detention camp and finding out from the asylum seekers whether they want to pursue this course of action because we have commenced the action without any instruction from them. Here in Papua New Guinea we can do that under the constitution."

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Powes Parkop