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Letter to Nambucca Guardian - Manus Island Detention Centre declared illegal 28 April 2016

Manus Island Detention Centre Declared Illegal -  letter to Nambucca Guardian 

We have news this week that the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea has declared the Manus Island Detention Centre illegal and we now understand that it is set to close. Malcolm Turnbull and his government now face a dilemma. What is to be done with the 905  detainees on Manus 482 of whom have been assessed as genuine refugees ? 

Could the decision of the Supreme Court of PNG help to shift public opinion and  in turn is this likely to change the government’ s policies on the whole issue of offshore detention ? As an election looms it is unlikely that the present government’s policy decisions will shift on these issues but public opinion could well shift and influence election outcomes. 

Gillian Triggs in an interview on Radio National on Thursday 28th April reiterated that offshore detention is ‘unsustainable’.  It has long been pointed out by doctors, social workers, teachers and others with direct experience of working in offshore detention facilities that conditions there are indefensible in terms of morality, humanity , economics and legality. 

Another question to ask is “How does Australia look in the eyes of the International Community ?  Is it defensible to continue to “shift” the refugee problem elsewhere ? Our government should be working in collaboration with other countries to explore solutions to this worldwide crisis. Australian Government policy on these issues has never “stopped the boats” the boats have just been diverted elsewhere. 

The asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Manus are our responsibility. Those found to be genuine refugees should be resettled in Australia. 
These recent events give our RAR group an increased impetus and urgency to press on even more vigorously with our protests, market stalls and determination to do whatever we can to make our views public and hopefully to shift political opinion. 

Marlene Griffin
28. 4. 16  

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