Refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island commenced court proceedings in Papua New Guinea arguing that even though the detention centre was closed, their inability to leave Manus Island constitutes indefinite detention and, therefore, a breach of the constitution. They are seeking travel documents to enable them to leave PNG and are hopeful that the PNG Government may step in to resolve their situation rather than having to continue the court action.
A mural at Bondi beach which shows 24 Australian Border Force guards under the heading ‘not welcome to Bondi’ was defaced shortly after a motion to Council for its removal was defeated. The artist, Luke Cornish, was asked to do the work as part of an exhibition and described the vandalism as a criminal act. He explained that the border force guards represented the 24 asylum seekers who have suicided in Australian-run detention facilities since 2010. The Council noted that the artwork is temporary and would be replaced following the conclusion of the exhibition.
The federal government reintroduced legislation to Parliament whereby a person would have their visa automatically cancelled if they are convicted of a crime that carries a two-year sentence, regardless of whether or not the jail time is actually imposed. The current law limits the automatic visa cancellation to people who have been sentenced to at least 12 months in prison. The Minister for Immigration, David Coleman, justified the proposed law on the basis that foreign criminals do not deserve to remain in Australia. Refugee lawyers have expressed concern that there is no provision in the proposed legislation to exempt people who have been granted protection.
A Syrian refugee who was resettled in Canada after spending months stuck in an airport terminal launched a crowdfunding campaign that aims to sponsor the resettlement of up to 200 refugees on Nauru and Manus Island in Canada. He was prompted to launch the campaign by the recent increase in the number of suicide attempts by people in offshore facilities. He is working with Canadian charities and the Refugee Council of Australia with the aim of raising a total of $3.7 million.
Gillian Triggs was appointed as United Nations Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, replacing Volker Türk, who held the role for 4 years.