This picture taken in 2014 shows asylum-seekers at a Manus Island detention centre. Photo Credit: Reuters

Australia agrees to pay A$70m to Manus Island detainees

Article in the BBC
14 June, 2017

Contrary to what is said in the analysis by Hywel Griffith below, the deterrent is not the harsh treatment in the camps, but the dozens of vessels of the Australian Navy which patrol the waters off Indonesia, stop any ship carrying migrants coming out of Indonesian territory and return them into the hands of Indonesian authorities. I was told that 29 such boats had been stopped in 2016.

The Australian authorities do not admit responsibility, but the Minister recognises that the trial had an “unknown outcome “, which means that he feared that the courts could condemn the government for human rights violations. It is a good start on the path towards dismantling the policy.

“The Australian government and its contractors have offered compensation totalling A$70m (£41m; $53m) to refugees detained in Papua New Guinea.

The 1,905 claimants had alleged they suffered harm while being held on PNG’s Manus Island between 2012 and 2016.

The government said it “strongly denied” the allegations but that settling was a “prudent” decision.

Australia turns away any refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat and sends them to PNG and Nauru.

It says this deters migrants from attempting the life-threatening voyage to its shores in trafficking boats.

But the policy has been heavily criticised both at home and internationally, including by the United Nations”

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