Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Australia Settles With Manus Island Detainees, Will Pay $70m

Manus Island regional processing facility,
photo via Global Panorama

Australia has "strongly denied" allegations that would-be asylum seekers held oversees at Manus Island suffered harm during their detention on Papua New Guinea. Nevertheless, as the BBC reports today, the country has settled a lawsuit brought by detainees for a whopping $70m.

Note - this is the same facility that the PNG Supreme Court declared unconstitutional last year.

Australia's overseas detention of asylum seekers at another overseas facility - Nauru - has also be subject to abuse allegations. (here, here).

The Obama administration had reached an agreement with Australia to take some of the detainees held at both locations. It was dubbed by President Trump "the worst deal ever," and reportedly caused great tension during his first official phone call with the PM of Australia. But, two months later, Pence confirmed that Trump "intends to honor the agreement" and will resettle some of those who sought asylum in Australia in the United States.

For now, Australia is standing by both its policy of detaining asylum seekers abroad (a "powerful deterrent" to asylum seekers) and its settlement of the suit (a "prudent" measure in the face of an "unknown outcome" at trial). It's also standing by its position that those detained Manus or Nauru "are not coming to Australia" for resettlement.


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