From Fairfax – Sarah Whyte
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has ordered that no asylum seekers be sent to Manus Island, instead funnelling them to the small Pacific Island of Nauru.
In changes made to the Migration Act on July 15, Mr Morrison revoked the direction to send male asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea’s offshore processing centre on Manus Island.
In the changes made under subsection 198ad(5) of the Migration Act 1958 (‘the act’), obtained by Fairfax Media, Mr Morrison writes it is in the “public interest” to “direct officers to take unauthorised maritime arrivals to the Republic of Nauru.”
It says the only people who are exempt from the Act are asylum seekers who are flown to Australia for medical reasons.
“In this instance I direct officers to take the unauthorised maritime arrival to Papua New Guinea when the person no longer needs to be in Australia for the medical treatment,” the statement says.
Service providers, who have recently returned from working on Manus Island, have told Fairfax Media the Manus Island centre appeared to be “winding down”.
The running of the Manus Island centre has faced severe criticism when an asylum seeker was killed and scores of others injured during brutal violence in February. It has also experienced significant delays in processing asylum seekers.
Unlike the 179 asylum seekers who have been now settled on Nauru, not one asylum seeker has yet been resettled in Papua New Guinea.