7 Nov 2017

Court rejects restoration of services to Manus detention centre

3:54 pm on 7 November 2017

The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea has rejected an application to restore vital services to the detention centre on Manus Island.

the daily protest in the Manus Island detention centre 5-11-17.

A protest in the Manus Island detention centre on 5 November Photo: supplied

About 600 refugees are refusing to leave the centre after food, water and power were cut last week when the centre was officially closed.

The refugees are resisting pressure to move to other buildings in the island's main town.

The ABC has tweeted the request made by lawyers for the court to order the restoration of the services was denied.

Lawyers for the PNG government had argued the services were available for the men in the other buildings and that re-connecting the services to the centre would be difficult.

Kurdish journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani said there was no justice for detainees.

"We the refugees in Manus are outside the law and justice. There is no justice for the refugees and we are used to the court's decisions going against us. It is so frustrating when Australia is obviously violating human rights in [the] prison camp."

Earlier this month, lawyer Ben Lomai argued in court that terminating water, power and food services was in breach of the refugees' constitutional rights.

He said lawyers representing the PNG government submitted that restoring the services would be difficult.

"These services were provided by the Australian government. The chief justice raised this issue on who is legally responsible for the detainees now." said Mr Lomai.

"We say PNG is solely responsible to provide those services to detainees."

Manus Island dismantled

Photo: Supplied

However, the PNG immigration minister Petrus Thomas earlier said in a statement it would be impossible to re-establish the services.

"I want to be very clear that there is no capacity to restore services, there is no service provider to deliver services and... as services are available at the new facilities there is no need for services to be reconnected."

The group Doctors for Refugees said there could be many deaths in coming days at the Manus Island detention camp and Australian MPs will be to blame.

The group has written to the MPs saying any deaths will be on their conscience.

A Manus Island refugee digging a well.

A Manus Island refugee digging a well. Photo: Supplied

The NGO said, at the weekend, a refugee with a suspected heart attack sought assistance in Lorengau Hospital.

It said the man was discharged without having basic medical tests.

The group said there was little hope for any refugee who becomes seriously unwell on Manus Island.

It said if the situation deteriorates further and the PNG Defence Force decides to clear the centre then there is a risk of many deaths.

The NGO said the situation was a direct consequence of the Australian government's arbitrary and indefinite incarceration of hundreds of innocent men in a hostile environment on a remote island in a poor country, unequipped in all respects to look after them.

It must finally take adequate responsibility for the welfare of these men, the group said.

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