Monday, 24th March 2014

IN FURIOUS AGREEMENT

Last week the PNG government won a legal stay against the human rights investigation of Manus initiated by PNG supreme court judge David Cannings. So he set up a snap inquiry on Friday, sending a small team into the detention centre to take evidence from asylum seekers who claim their rights have been violated. This new inquiry may be shut down today too.

The Australian government has supported the PNG's attempts to shut down the inquiries. Readers may recall it has already blocked its own human rights commissioner Gillian Triggs from inspecting the centre, not to mention the media.

One of the few people allowed in as part of the snap inquiry, Daniel Webb, observed this morning (via ABC RN): "I think I've read every report that's been written about conditions inside the Manus processing centre, and I was still absolutely shocked and confronted by what I saw. We saw chronic overcrowding. Some of the rooms had so many beds packed into them that you couldn't walk between the beds. We saw poor toilet and sanitation facilities... Everywhere we went we were swamped by crowds of asylum seekers just desperate for help."

There is as yet no indication of how or where the 1310 Manus asylum seekers will be resettled if found to be refugees. PNG has stated it will not take them all. Nothing has been arranged.

But Tony Abbott agreed with PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill's view that most would not be found to be refugees, even though none have yet had their refugee status determined.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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