Around 750 asylum seekers on Manus Island have made an appeal to the High Court on Wednesday to reconsider their immediate return to Australia to experience better living conditions.
Human Rights barrister Jay Williams filed the complaint. The court will hear the matter on May 23, the third week of the election campaign. The asylum seekers have taken the step after the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court’s verdict that stated Manus Island detention centres were not obeying the country’s constitution properly. The complainants are awaiting the court’s response which will hopefully be in their favour to prevent the Australian government from transferring them on Nauru.
The group of refugees blamed both the Australian and PNG governments to have violated human rights by torturing the detainees and mistreating them. The group’s solicitor, Matthew Byrnes, expressed his wish to involve a royal commission into the matter. “In addition to the orders being sought from the High Court in these applications, we are of the view that there is an urgent need for an inquiry or a royal commission in relation to the arrangements,” the solicitor said as quoted by the ABC. He added that the inquiry must be presided over by High Court Justice Michael Kirby.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull repeatedly stated that the refugees would not be allowed to resettle in Australia as it would stimulate the human trafficking rate. This is what made the asylum seekers look for legal ways of movement to Australia. “The misery that many of those people are in, the mental anguish that many of them are in, is something that we sympathise with. We grieve for them,” the PM told ABC Radio.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Greens MP Adam Bandt asked if the federal government will reconsider its immigration policies after two detainees set themselves on fire on Nauru island. To this, Immigration Minister replied that no Aussie desires to see asylum seekers harming themselves, but at the same time no Australian would want to “see people drowning at sea.”