Following the recent judgment by Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court, which ruled the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was and will remain illegal; it is believed over 900 asylum seekers could be eligible to receive compensation in the vicinity of $125,000 per person, according to lawyer Ben Lomai.
Today an application will be heard in Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court seeking financial compensation for those individuals who were illegally detained on Manus Island. Ben Lomai, the lawyer who is acting on behalf of the asylum seekers, told the ABC that applications have been filed for 600 asylum seekers with another 300 plus applications to be processed.
Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, maintains Papua New Guinea is responsible for the asylum seekers, stressing they will not be allowed to settle permanently in Australia. Mr Lomai however stated, that if the Court rules in their favour, “we will be seeking to enforce the judgment against the Commonwealth of Australia” (ABC). This is because although Papua New Guinea “is named as one of those responsible’ the ‘Memorandum of Understanding provides that the Australian Commonwealth Government is responsible for all the costs associated with offshore processing,’ Mr Lomai said (ABC).
As for the asylum seekers current situation, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball says there’s “absolutely no chance” the 909 detainees will be resettled in Australia and they can settle in Papua New Guinea, return home or find settlement in alternate countries.
“We can’t afford to let the empathy that we feel for the desperate circumstances many people find themselves in to cloud our judgement. Our national security has to come first,” Mr Turnball said. .
Image sourced from the Guardian by photographer Bill Code.