Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

18 February 2014

Australia must investigate fatal incident on Manus Island

Australia must investigate fatal incident on Manus Island
One asylum-seeker has died and scores have been injured in recent days on the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island.

One asylum-seeker has died and scores have been injured in recent days on the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island.

© Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship via Getty Images

News of the death of one asylum seeker on Manus Island and serious injuries sustained by dozens of others is extremely distressing and must prompt an urgent, independent investigation by the Australian authorities, Amnesty International said. 

The Australian government is holding more than 1,000 asylum seekers in shameful conditions in a processing centre on the island in Papua New Guinea.

"We are extremely concerned by events that have taken place over the past few days at the Manus Island detention facility," said Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia's Refugee spokesperson.

"We are calling for an immediate, independent investigation to find out more about the incidents, and how this tragedy occurred."

"The tragic death of the asylum seeker, who was sent to Papua New Guinea by Australian authorities, is a result of Australia and Papua New Guinea's unlawful policy of offshore processing."

The safety and protection of asylum seekers is the joint responsibility of both Australia and Papua New Guinea under a formal agreement between the two governments.

Both must ensure that government officials and private contractors exercise caution and use force only as a last resort when dealing with asylum seekers, many who have experienced trauma and torture.

There are more than 1, 200 people detained indefinitely on Manus Island under deliberately harsh and humiliating conditions, many for up to seven months, with no information about their future.

Many of these men have now passed the critical six month mark, and their indefinite detention is a significant contributing factor to the deterioration of the mental health of such vulnerable people who have fled war, terror and persecution.

"During our visit to the facility late last year we received firsthand testimony from asylum seekers and service providers that this system was breaking people," said  Graham Thom.

"Our report made a range of recommendations that processing begins and resettlement plans are put in place, and improvements are made at the facility, and we have yet to receive a response from the Government.

"We call on the government to end the cruel and unlawful policy of offshore detention, and close the Manus Island detention centre," Thom added. "Until this happens, both the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments need to progress resettlement plans and provide asylum seekers held at Manus Island with some certainty about their futures."


Papua New Guinea 


Asia And The Pacific 


Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants 

@amnestyonline on twitter


24 November 2014

A Belgian mining company, Groupe Forrest International, has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and... Read more »

27 November 2014

Threats and killings coupled with the weak implementation of flawed legislation are scuppering the Colombian government’s promise to return millions of hectares of land... Read more »

26 November 2014

The prison sentence for blasphemy handed down today by a court in Pakistan against four people including the owner of a major private TV channel and one of its star... Read more »

24 November 2014

Allegations that the UK government sanctioned the use of torture and ill-treatment in Northern Ireland in the 1970s should be re-examined by the European Court of Human... Read more »

25 November 2014

The UAE authorities have again shown their intolerance for dissent by handing down a three-year prison sentence and hefty fine today to a 25-year-old man whose only “offence”... Read more »