Ben Lomai, the lawyer representing more than 200 refugees and asylum seekers currently on Manus Island, filed five Refugee Statements of Issue today in court on their intentions to not accept resettlement in Papua New Guinea.
The statements are purposely being dealt with as a test case, that if successful, the court will use on other refugees to determine their reasons not to resettle here.
Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, directed two senior officials of the Immigration Department to file statements in response to this submission by August 2.
It has been three months since the Supreme Court ruled the detention of those on Manus was unconstitutional.
Lomai said the refugees are still detained and he’s concerned about their future, saying their rights and liberty to be released from the centre have been deprived.
He has filed two applications with the Supreme Court for them to return to Australia, and has asked who the responsible party for that will be.
However, these applications have been put on hold pending the processing of the asylum seekers, to determine whether or not they are legitimate refugees.
Today in court, Ian Molloy, the lawyer representing Foreign Affairs Minister, Rimbink Pato, said this process may be unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has already made its ruling.
However, Lomai said his clients are still being detained, and it is now a human rights issue that needs to be fast tracked in court.
EMTV News spoke with one of the refugees, Mohsen Sakhravi, who said the deprivation of their liberty to leave PNG has caused them trauma and mental sickness.
Meanwhile, Ian Rintoun, a representative from the Refugee Action Coalition (an NGO based in Australia) travelled to PNG to observe the case today. He is hoping for a clear decision to be made soon regarding the refugees.
The case will return on August 2 where immigration officials will respond to the five statements.