1296 Detainees in Manus detention Centre

There are 1296 asylum seekers being held in the Australian detention centre on the Papua New Guinea Island of Manus.

Most are from troubled Middle East and Asian countries.

The highest number is from Iran (533), followed by Afghanistan (134), Pakistan (104), Iraq (94).

There are also 90 Sudanese, 47 Somalis and a handful of North-Africans. There are 74 Bangladeshi, 69 people coming from Myanmar, 37 Lebanese, 27 from Sri Lanka, 5 from Syria.

Almost 40 people are stateless.

The General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, Fr Victor Roche recently visited the Manus detention centre as an observer for the Catholic Church to find out if there was any violation of human rights in the refugee camp.

Eleven detainees were brought into the court room over a couple of days. They testified that they were forcefully taken to Manus from the remote Australian Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean and were told that they would never be allowed to settle in Australia.

The detainees complained about the harsh conditions in the camp: one mentioned bread with worms; others cramped rooms, lack of privacy, deprivation of liberty and uncertainty about the future. They said that they left Iraq, Somalia or Afghanistan, because of threats to their life.

They would like to be resettled in Australia or in a country that can guaranty their safety.

From the camp they can communicate by phone or via internet with their families; but some are frightened by security personnel at the camp.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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