The 4th reply from DIBP

This is the fourth letter I have received from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. I have not yet received any reply from the Prime Minister.

This is the text of the letter:

Dear Ms Halbert

Thank you for your correspondence of 10, 11 and 12 April 2017 to the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, concerning the detainee known as ‘Saeed’, as well as the Australian Government’s regional processing and settlement arrangements in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Your correspondence has been referred to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection as the matters raised fall within his portfolio responsibilities. The Minister appreciates the time you have taken to bring these matters to his attention and has asked that I reply on his behalf.

In order to protect privacy, under the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988, it would be inappropriate for me to provide detailed information about the particular circumstances of ‘Saeed’.

While I cannot provide specific details about his case, I can confirm that this individual is receiving appropriate care for his needs, and his immigration detention placement is appropriate to his circumstances.

The  Migration Act 1958 requires applicants to establish a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion in all areas of their home country. People who are found to be refugees must also satisfy health, character and security checks before they can be granted a visa.

People who are found not to be refugees in Australia have been appropriately assessed to determine whether they engage Australia’s protection obligations. Where an asylum seeker is found not to engage Australia’s protection obligations and has exhausted all administrative and judicial avenues for appeal, they have no lawful basis for remaining in Australia and are therefore expected to depart. Those who do not depart voluntarily will be subject to removal from Australia. Removals occur only after all processing has been completed and do not occur where this would place Australia in breach of its international obligations relating to the return of non-citizens.

People transferred and accommodated at the Manus Regional Processing Centre (RPC) are treated with respect and dignity and in accord with human rights standards. The Australian Government has contracted appropriately trained and experienced service providers to ensure that residents’ needs are adequately met, including the provision of health and welfare services.

Good quality, nutritious, culturally appropriate food is provided and served three times daily. Beverages and snacks are available at all times. Special meals are prepared for religious festivals and cultural or medical reasons.

Residents at the Manus RPC are supplied with ample clothing for daily needs. Where new or extra clothing is needed, the service provider will purchase and supply these items without charge. Toiletries are supplied as required.

The Government of PNG is responsible for processing the protection claims of people transferred to the Manus RPC. People found to be refugees can settle in PNG and may also be considered for resettlement in the United States.

People found not to be refugees are encouraged to return to their country of origin or to a third country where they have a right to reside. Substantial assistance is available to help people return home voluntarily and re-establish their lives. Non-refugees who do not depart voluntarily are liable to removal by the PNG Government. The Australian Government will support PNG in these arrangements.

The Government of PNG, with Australia’s support, is working towards the closure of the Manus RPC by 31 October 2017. After this date, Australia will cease to have an ongoing role in regional processing arrangements in PNG.

The scheduled closure of the Manus RPC does not change the Australian Government’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of Australia’s borders and combatting maritime people smuggling. The regional processing and settlement arrangements in Nauru will continue and Australia will retain an enduring regional processing capacity in that country. Neither refugees nor non-refugees will be settled in Australia.

The Government remains to regional processing and resettlement and stopping the scourge of people smugglers and deaths at sea.

Thank you for bringing your views to the Government’s attention.

Yours sincerely
— Director ABF Ministerial Correspondence Section Support Group - Australia Border Force 22 May 2017