Fifth reply from DIBP

Dear Ms Halbert

Thank you for your correspondence of 31 July 2017 to the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, concerning the closure of the Manus Regional Processing Centre (RPC); and the Australian Government's regional processing and settlement arrangements. 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.

Papua New Guinea (PNG), with Australia's support, will close the Manus RPC by 31 October 2017. After this date, Australia will not have an ongoing role in regional processing arrangements in PNG.

RPC residents are aware that the RPC will close by 31 October 2017 and the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (ICSA) is providing them with information about their options.

ICSA has been clear with refugee residents that they have other accommodation options available, such as:

  • temporarily relocating to the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre or to accommodation in the PNG community;
  • settling permanently in PNG;
  • returning home voluntarily with reintegration assistance; or
  • moving to a third country they have the right to reside in.

Non-refugee residents should return home voluntarily with reintegration assistance or they will be involuntarily removed from PNG by the Government of PNG, without any reintegration assistance.

Closure of the Manus RPC is a significant step towards resolving the regional processing caseload. However, closure of the Manus RPC is not the end of regional processing arrangements. In cooperation with the Government of Nauru, Australia will retain an enduring regional processing capacity in Nauru. Australia will continue to intercept and turn back any people smuggling boats that attempt to reach Australia. Closure of the Manus RPC does not weaken Australia's borders and the Australian Government's border protection policies are here to stay.

The Government remains committed 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

&& (incomprehensible signature)

Director ABF Ministerial Correspondence Section Support Group - Australian Border Force
29 August 2017

Letters to Tyranny #5

Dear Prime Minister

The fifth asylum seeker on Manus Island, Mr XXX XXX, XX years old, has fled for safety from XXX.

Mr XXX's detention is now called 'resident in an area' but he is neither free to leave nor free to pursue his rights.  Despite not having Mr XXX's personal details it is not difficult to imagine that he is suffering a great deal due to these circumstances imposed on him by Australia.

What part is Australia taking in the legal processes in PNG to carry out our obligations to Mr XXX?

Yours faithfully

Ruth Halbert

Letters to Tyranny #4

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to you today on behalf of the fourth asylum seeker on Manus Island. His name is XXX XXX, born on XXXX in XXX. He has been on Manus Island for X years.

In April the Supreme Court of PNG ruled that there was no legal nor constitutional agreement between PNG and Australia to establish the detention centre on Manus Island. What steps have the government taken to abide by PNG law and to remove the asylum seekers from Manus Island to Australia?

Yours faithfully

Ruth Halbert

Letters to Tyranny #2

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to you about Mr XXX, the second asylum seeker detained on Manus Island. Mr XXX was born in 19XX in XXXX, from where he fled to Australia seeking refuge.

What actions will your government take to satisfy Mr XXX's right to liberty (part of Article 3 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)?

Yours faithfully,

Ruth Halbert

Letters to Tyranny #1

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to you on behalf of the first asylum seeker who has been detained on Manus Island since XXX. His name is XXX XXX and he is XXX years of age. His country of origin is XXX.

I am concerned about two aspects of Mr XXX's detention. The first is that I believe it is contrary to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights especially since Article 14 (1) states "Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." The second is that it costs Australia more than $400000 per year per asylum seeker.

What will you do to ensure that Australia's obligation towards Mr XXX's asylum claim is carried out as rapidly and humanely as possible?

Yours faithfully

Ruth Halbert