8 Nov 2016

731 Manus Island detainees sign new application

9:44 am on 8 November 2016

The lawyer representing refugees detained on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island says he's re-filed a Supreme Court application for their resettlement and compensation.

Hundreds gather for memorial service for Pakistani refugee who drowned.

Over 700 have signed an application fore resettlement from Manus Island. Here hundreds gathered for a memorial service for a Pakistani Photo: Refugee Action Coalition

The court ruled in April that the refugees' detention was illegal, but it dismissed an application for compensation last month as the lawyer, Ben Lomai, had singed it on behalf of his clients.

Mr Lomai said he was unable to obtain the signatures in the first instance as his clients were held in detention but 731 refugees out of about 900 marooned on Manus Island have signed the new application.

"We name Behrouz Boochani as the principle applicant in that matter and 730 others. We were able to secure 731 signatures," he said.

"A few other guys will come in as and when they submit their forms in and that includes those living oversees.

Mr Lomai said the PNG government has indicated it will settle his clients' claims for compensation and some refugees could be awarded about US$90 (K300) for each day of their detention but he will ask the court to increase that amount.

He said the PNG government will be expecting Australia to finance the compensation.

"That will be a matter for the Australian government and Papua New Guinea government to talk about those issues under the terms of the 2013 MOU (memorandum of understanding) because as agreed between these two governments that Australian government should be responsible for all cost associated with offshore processing."

Protesters call for immigration detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island to close in Melbourne, in August 2016.

Protesters call for immigration detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island to close in Melbourne, in August 2016. Photo: AFP

Talk of compensation suggests a third country has been found in which to resettle the refugees he said.

"We have already been advised that the state has offered to settle compensation, probably in lieu of the fact that they have now some arrangement in place for a resettlement into a third country."

Some of the refugees have been detained on Manus Island for three years, and Mr Lomai said their compensation would be decided on a case by case basis.

He is trying to request a hearing for his application in December.

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