PNG Opposition Plans Legal Challenge To Manus Refugee Center

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Namah seeks return of detainees to Australia

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 7, 2013) – Opposition leader Belden Namah, questioning the constitutionality of the asylum seekers’ detention scheme on Manus Island, says he has instructed his lawyers to seek a court order to return the detainees to Australia.

He said he had instructed Henao Lawyers to file two applications in the National Court.

The first application was to seek an order to free the Manus detainees and return them to Australia.

The second application would ask the National Court to declare the asylum seekers’ detention scheme and the operation of the Manus detention centre unconstitutional.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Ke­renga Kua said the opposition should provide details that suggested the centre was unlawful.

[PIR editor’s note: The National also reported the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has defended the detention center, claiming that it is"within the perimeters of the PNG laws."]

Kua said PNG was a member of the international community and a signatory to several international conventions and protocols and it could not sit and wait but help neighbours as and when needed, and the centre was one such case.

He said it was an obligation to comply with agreements as a signatory and a member of the international community.

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