The 195th man on Manus Island

Dear Prime Minister,

These are the words of Behrouz Boochani, published on Facebook on 7 February 2017

PNG immigration announced in the media that they want to deport about 60 asylum seekers from Manus. Some comments:
1. Of course it’s actually an Australian immigration announcement, and this policy is run by Australian immigration. You PNG immigration are working under Australian immigration orders and you don’t have the power on an important issue like this. Obviously Australia is responsible for the refugees in Manus. And the PNG supreme court ordered that you can not deport anybody from Manus while the case is still in court - if you do it will be illegal.
2. There is a logical question. Why didn’t you deport people years ago? The answer is this: because you wanted them for political aims and did not want to investigate their cases in a reasonable timeframe. This is a crime and is against the international convention for refugees. It’s an injustice to deport these guys when the process is completely illegal. The important thing is that immigration did not process people as they should have, but have used the processing system for torturing people and pressuring them to go back to their source countries. Sometimes people were sick when their claims were processed and they were not given any chance to get well first to ensure their cases could be investigated properly. Most of the time people received notification at night that their cases would be considered the next morning, so they did not have enough time to get ready. Sometimes the CAPS team who investigated the cases rejected some people to see their reaction, and then met with them each week to put more pressure on them. When I asked some refugees if they would like to go to America they said ‘Yes, but if they want to process me again I won’t go.’ When I asked why they said they are so tired with this process and it’s so stressful. Immigration and CAPS processed people in the wrong way. What I mean is that it’s unacceptable that they processed people while they were in such a hard situation and under so much stress, and where they did not feel comfortable enough, or have the capacity, to share information.
3. Also there are about 30 people who refused to give their cases to PNG but were given negative status. They refused because they did not want to live in PNG and said we are ready to give our cases to Australia or the UNHCR but cannot accept giving our cases to PNG. Other people refused to continue the process and stopped it part-way through because they did not want to live in PNG. It doesn’t mean these people are not real refugees. It means they could not accept this kind of modern slavery. They requested a lot of times to give their cases to the UNHCR or any third country but immigration said ‘No way, you must give your case to PNG and live in this country.’
4. I have a question for the government: What did you do for all those people with positive status for years? You actually did not protect the refugees as required under your international commitment. You have left some of them in PNG cities without any protection, and have kept others in a prison and tortured them every day with political rumours and games like the deal with America.
— Behrouz Boochani, Manus prison, 7 February 2017, via Facebook

I want these questions answered too. What is your reply, Prime Minister?