Weekly media round-up No. 30

This week Papua New Guinea launched an inquiry into the violence and alleged human rights violations at the Manus Island detention centre last month, to be assisted by Amnesty International. Justice David Cannings is leading the investigation, which is separate to a constitutional challenge to the centre mounted by PNG opposition leader, Belden Namah.

The PNG Supreme Court temporarily halted the inquiry due to the allegation of Mr Cannings’ bias, however Mr Canning launched a second inquiry, appointing Australian lawyer Jay Williams to take evidence from detainees. There is speculation this inquiry could also be shut down by the PNG government, because Mr Williams is not registered to practice in PNG. The Age reported that the Australian Government was consulted and backed the decision of the PNG government to shut down a human rights inquiry.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill met with the Abbott Government and said PNG would not be able to resettle all refugees on Manus Island. Both leaders agreed most people in the centre are not  “genuine refugees”. During an inspection of the centre asylum seekers shouted to visiting journalists that Reza Barati had been thrown off a balcony.

More reports have been issued about conditions on Manus Island: an asylum seeker told a PNG court about eating worm-infested bread and PNG police were shown in a video using dogs in an alleged attack on an unarmed man. Three suicide attempts have been reported. ABC’s 7.30 showed footage taken on board of asylum seekers intercepted at sea, including threats to Navy officers.  Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the report further justifies the government’s tough border policies.

Mr Morrison announced it has been 89 days since a successful people smuggling venture arrived in Australia. Indonesian immigration officials say they stopped 1000 asylum seekers last year.

Legal action following the breach of asylum seekers’ personal information began. The Guardian reported that if their cases fail, these asylum seekers would pay the legal costs of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

In 2013 the Immigration Department required asylum seekers to leave school at the age of eighteen. From November the Coalition reversed the policy, allowing teenagers to complete schooling after they turned eighteen.