The Guardian August 14, 2002


Call to close PNG centre

The Prime Minister should rule out the possibility of the notorious PNG 
"Mobile Squads" being used at the Australian-sponsored Manus Island 
detention centre, saidGreens Senator Bob Brown, in a statement released 
early this week.

The Prime Minister is meeting the new PNG Prime Minster Michael Somare and 
is expected to discuss the October 21, 2002 deadline for closing Manus 
Island detention centre."

Senator Brown recalled that the Mobile Squads shot dead four students at 
Port Moresby University in June last year and that they have been involved 
in the burning of entire villages.

He said that having the Australian Protective Services agents at the centre 
but with no legal authority under PNG law, and as such being called 
"advisors", was a legal fiction to disguise the fact they are indeed being 
used as security there.

"The whole Manus Island operation is legally dubious. I also understand 
that riot squad gear, including shields and truncheons, has been sent from 
Australia to Manus Island.

"The detention centre should be closed and the 700 asylum seekers brought 
to Australia immediately."

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