18 Mar 2014

Judge to visit Manus Island centre for human rights inquiry

3:00 pm on 18 March 2014

The judge heading the inquiry into whether Manus Island asylum seekers basic rights have been violated, is visiting the Papua New Guinea detention centre today.

The inquiry, headed by Justice David Cannings, is in its second day.

Court officials say the first day of the inquiry was largely spent dealing with an application by the government, and chief migration officer, to disqualify Justice Cannings from leading the inquiry.

This application was refused.

This morning Justice Cannings and court staff have gone to the Manus Island processing centre.

Officials say the trip is to simply make observations, and there will be no dialogue between transferees.

The Australian public health specialist chosen to investigate the centre, Dr Paul Crouch-Chivers, is to visit the local hospital today and he will also visit the centre on Wednesday..

Amnesty International has made an application to be a party to the inquiry so it may present evidence.

Transferees, who are currently represented by PNG's public solicitor, have applied to be represented by an Australian law firm.

A summary of the evidence gathered is expected to be presented by the end of the week.