Wednesday 27 April 2016

Australia's Gulag - The Manus Island Prison

Prior to my posts on the Manus Island detention centre last year I had lodged the complaint below (partially edited and with emphasis added)  with the National Court of Papua New Guinea.  It was not the proceeding that reached the Supreme Court, but it may have had some effect.
FORM 127                   O23 r 9(1)




1. Name of 

2. Address:


3. Phone numbers:         


4. Statement:
  1. The complaint is made on behalf of asylum seekers currently detained on Manus Island who are, I believe, detained in breach of section 42 of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea.
  1. I am a barrister practising in Perth, Western Australia, ....
  1. I was admitted to practise in the then Supreme Court of New Zealand in ..., the then Supreme Court of Fiji in ..., the Supreme Court of Western Australia in ..., and the High Court of Australia in ....
  1. In all of those jurisdictions I have practised in the area of human rights.
  1. I appeared as counsel on behalf of an unaccompanied minor detained in Nauru. Reported judgments appear as:  Plaintiff P1/2003 v Ruddock  [2007] FCA 65;   (2007) 157 FCR 518;  Sadiqi v Commonwealth of Australia (No 2) [2009] FCA 117 (2009) 181 FCR 1; (2009) 260 ALR 294; cited in Plaintiff M70/2011 v Minister of Immigration and Citizenship [2011] HCA 33;  (2011) 85 ALJR 891; (2011) 122 ALD 237.
  1. I appeared as counsel in a claim for damages brought on behalf of a falsely imprisoned Sri Lankan resident of Australia reported as:  Commonwealth of Australia v Fernando [2012] FCAFC 18;  (2012) 200 FCR 1;(2012) 287 ALR 267; (2012) 126 ALD 10.
  1. An appeal to the High Court of Australia in which I appeared on behalf of an unaccompanied refugee minor  is reported as: WACB v Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs [2004] HCA 50; (2004) 210 ALR 190; (2004) 79 ALJR 94 (7 October 2004).
  1. I have been approached by an Australian resident on behalf of those detained there, and asked to provide assistance to those detained in immigration detention on Manus Island.
  1. From media reports of the difficulty of lawyers in obtaining access it appears unlikely that I would be permitted to enter the detention centre to provide advice to those detained there should I attempt to do so.
  1. I have advised one of the detainees, with whom I am in contact by electronic mail, of the right of the Manus Island detainees to complain to the National Court that they are detained in breach of section 42 of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea by means of a complaint under the Human Rights Rules 2010, and have provided him with a copy of the Form 125, and advice on how it should be filled out.
  1. However, I am not confident that the detainees will be able to avail themselves of those rights.
  1. I believe that those in the detention centre have been and are detained in breach of section 42.
  1. While not fully apprised of the facts, I further believe that the participation of the Commonwealth of Australia by its servants and agents in the running of the detention centre may be unlawful as in breach of Australia’s Constitution.
  1. l believe that I have standing under Rule 6(b) and/or (c) of the Human Rights Rules 2010.
  1. I am willing to appear at any hearing into the complaint.


I, JOHN LEWIS CAMERON, declare this statement to be correct to the best of my knowledge and belief AND I hereby bring this information to the attention of the National Court.

Dated at Perth, Western Australia, this 24th day of June 2014.

The change of description from Immigration Processing Centre to prison is deliberate.  As a consequence of the judgment of the Supreme Court, it can no longer be described other than as an unlawfully operated prison.

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