PNG Government Seeks Dismissal Of Compensation Claims From Aslyum Seekers

Men already win case declaring detention was illegal; not yet given absolute freedom of movement

By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 21, 2016) – The Papua New Guinea Government has applied to dismiss an application by asylum seekers on Manus Island for compensation and repatriation by Australia.

Lawyers for PNG's Chief Migration Officer and Immigration Minister will argue the men's application should be dismissed because it is not personally signed by them and is outside the court's jurisdiction.

The asylum seekers' lawyers want the court to enforce the judgment of the five-man bench of the PNG Supreme Court in April, which found the men were illegally detained on Manus Island and ordered the detention centre there be closed.

The PNG Government responded to the judgment by allowing the men to leave the centre and move around Manus Island.

They can only leave the province with special permission, usually to take up a job as part of a resettlement arrangement, and they are not given travel documents which would allow them to leave PNG.

The asylum seekers' lawyers argue this does not comply with the judgment, as their freedom of movement is still restricted.

They also say they are owed compensation for their years spent in illegal detention and should be sent back to Australia because they were forcibly brought to PNG.

The men's lawyer, Ben Lomai, said the Government's application was designed to delay a ruling in the case.

"Their application is vexatious and we should just simply go to [our] application for summary judgment," he said.

"But we're happy that both applications are going in now.

"Once their application is thrown out we will get on with our application for summary judgment."

The case is likely to be heard sometime in October.

PNG Post-Courier
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