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Refugees Voluntarily Vacate Manus Detention Centre  

Yesterday’s Supreme Court refusal of an application seeking interim orders for the restoration of essential services to the Manus Regional Processing Centre, triggered several events in Lombrum.

Manus Police Commander, Chief Inspector David Yapu, said 24 refugees voluntarily vacated the center yesterday afternoon.

They were transported with their belongings to the East Lorengau Transit Centre.

According to Provincial Police Commander for Manus, David Yapu, local authorities are hoping the action of 24 asylum seekers voluntarily leaving the Lombrum center yesterday, will see others follow suit.

The Manus Regional Processing Centre was closed on October 31st in compliance with a 2016 Supreme Court decision.

The same afternoon, the refugees filed an application seeking interim orders to restore essential services there.

While waiting for the Chief Justice to appoint a single judge to hear the case, over 500 refugees remained camped at the Center.

They survived on well-water, and food supplies from shops in Lorengau town.

The matter went before the Chief Justice on Monday (October 6), and a verdict was handed down on Tuesday (November 7).

All 3 orders sought by the applicants were refused by the court because the 2016 Supreme Court decision had ruled that the Manus Detention Centre was illegally established, and was in breach of the PNG Constitution.

Following the court decision yesterday, Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Solomon Kantha, urged the remaining asylum seekers in Lombrum to voluntarily vacate the centre, and move to join others at the relocation sites.

The statement explains that essential services are provided at the new sites and says asylum seekers no longer have a legal basis to remain at the decommissioned facility.

A team of Provincial Health Inspectors have arrived in Manus to make assessments on the Lombrum Center.

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