[UPDATE: Men have been told they will be moved on April 6]
Men on Manus Island and refugee advocates are reporting that Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield) plan to transfer detainees between the compounds of the detention centre.
The plan is to separate those with a positive refugee status and those with a negative status.
Those with a positive status will be moved to Delta and Oscar compounds while those with a negative status will be moved to Foxtrot and Mike.
Reportedly they will be informed in the morning.
As the men in detention in Manus have been in the same place for almost 3 years their fellow detainees have become close almost like family.
The thought of being separated from those friends is causing much distress.
One refugee advocate who is in touch with many detainees reports that some are very angry while others say there is no hope and suicide is the only way out.
One man told me –
They are going to transfer me and I don’t know where, It will be very bad for me.
A trusted source has stated that extra security is coming and Papua New Guinea police will be on hand, workers have been asked to stay an extra week.
This may be because trouble is expected but also the presence of these guards/police will likely cause trouble just as much as it would prevent it.
Detainees have said that it is the PNG Mobile Squad who will be present.
They’ve also been told if they resist they will spend 2 days in ‘Chauka’ described by human rights defender, journalist and Manus detainee as a torture room.
After that they will be sent to Lorengau jail for 1 month, men taken there last year were allegedly tortured.
Motive behind the transfers
There are a few reasons why authorities have decided to move these men who are essentially prisoners in a concentration camp.
One of those is men positive refugee status have been refusing to leave the camp, because they fear life in the community in PNG.
The compounds they will be moved to Delta and Oscar are said to be infamous for their ‘cruel imprisonment’.
This could prompt these positive refugees to agree to be transferred to East Lorengau Refugee Resettlement Camp the first step towards living in the PNG community.
This process is problematic for many reasons.
Also this moving around could cause those with negative refugee outcome to decide to return to their home country. The refugee determination process is not a fair one and we know Australia has returned men to their home countries who have then been tortured or killed.