Refugee Council of Australia
Jetty on Manus Island

Until when: The forgotten men of Manus Island


Table 1: Some of the recent incidents in Manus Island and Port Moresby, targeting refugees and people seeking asylum

A list of recent incidents in Manus Island and Port Moresby, compiled from media reports
Oct-18An Iranian refugee who was living in the community in Manus Island was attacked
and suffered serious injuries to his head and eyes.
Apr-18An Afghan refugee was stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver in a robbery in
Manus Island's main town of Lorengau.
Dec-17Two intoxicated men approached West Lorengau Haus and made death threats.
One was armed with a long metal implement.
Dec-17A Bangladeshi refugee was hit in the face causing injuries and had his money
and phone stolen. This was the second time he was attacked on Manus Island.
A few months ago he was attacked with a machete and had his arm sliced open requiring surgery.
Jul-17Three men were attacked in Manus Island in separate robberies: a Sudanese
refugee had his leg cut with a bush knife when men broke into a guesthouse he
was staying, an Iranian man had his wrist cut when he was attacked with a machete and robbed in the street, and an Afghan refugee was attacked as he walked on the street near the hospital and had his wallet and phone stolen.
Nov-16An Iranian refugee was assaulted by a gang of youth on the streets of Manus
Island. He was punched and kicked and had his money stolen.
Oct-16A Somali refugee was confronted by a group of young men and hit with a rock
as he walked a friend to the bus stop near the East Lorengau Transit Centre.
Aug-16Two Afghan refugees were surrounded by a group of men as they walked to a
bus stop. They were robbed and hit with an iron bar on the body, arms and head.
Jul-16Two people who were in Port Moresby for medical treatment were threatened at
gun point near a motel they were staying at.

Table 2: The events in the lead up and aftermath of forcible removal of people from Manus Island RPC

List of events leading up to and after the forcible removal of people from Manus ISland RPC, sourced from media and UNHCR reports
Few months
prior to October 2017
Facilities and services in the Manus Island RPC were gradually removed.
This included cutting power to certain parts of the centre, removing
recreational facilities and reducing bus services to town.
Mid-Oct 2017People received three weeks' worth of medication. They were told they
needed to move to other two centres to access additional medication or
receive health care.
29-Oct-17People received two days' worth of food and water. They were told they
were expected to leave to other centres afterwards.
30-Oct-17UNHCR reported that the construction of West Lorengau Haus was
incomplete. Containers set to accommodate people were surrounded by
mud and did not have electrical or water connections. Heavy rain also
hampered the construction. Tension within the local community started
to rise.
31-Oct-17A large number of Australian service providers departed the centre in the
early hours.
01-Nov-17Water and power supplies were cut off in the early morning. About 600
men remained at the centre.
02-Nov-17With food and water running out, refugees and people seeking asylum
resorted to storing water in garbage bins and built makeshift systems to
catch the rain water.
03-Nov-17The PNG military prevented a group of local people who wanted to assist,
from delivering food to the men.
04-Nov-17A refugee collapsed after reporting chest pain inside the RPC.
Refugees contacted the emergency phone numbers provided as well as
police and navy but did not get a response. Four and a half hours later
PNG Immigration took the man to the local hospital. When he arrived
there, the only ECG machine was broken.
10-Nov-17Police and Immigration officials entered the RPC, destroyed sun-shelters,
smashed taps on large water tanks and filled in water wells the men had
dug with dirt and rubbish.
18-Nov-17The Australian Medical Association called on Australian Government to
allow independent doctors and other health experts access to people
inside the RPC (who were about 400 people at that time). In the
meantime there was growing fear about an outbreak of illnesses, like
cholera, with potentially deadly consequences.
23-Nov-1750 PNG police (including paramilitary) and immigration officers entered
the centre and gave the men an hour to move out. The officers shouted
at people, demanded they hand over their phones and destroyed their
property. Two men collapsed, one had a history of heart problems and
the other one was epileptic. Behrouz Boochani who had been providing
regular updates was arrested and detained for a few hours by the
police. They eventually removed 50 people.
24-Nov-17The PNG mobile squad officers forcibly removed all remaining people from the RPC, beating them with metal batons and forcing them on buses. Footage supplied by refugees shows officers threatening and intimidating the refugees, including throwing rocks at the fences behind which they were sheltering. Up to 60 men were left without a place to stay, as the centres were either not ready or over capacity. Essential services and food and water remained unavailable or insufficient for weeks. At times, running water and electricity were only available for one hour per day.
26-Nov-17Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) revealed that they had been denied
access to refugees and people seeking asylum despite being given
approval by PNG government earlier. They had been trying to meet with
the men and assess their health conditions since 22 November 2017.
29-Nov-17Local landowners blocked access to ELTC, demanding to be given the
case management contract for the Lorengau centres. The barricade
prevented medical staff from accessing patients for a number of hours. Some of the case management staff were told to leave for their own safety. In the following months, a number of other protests by local landowners were held.

Table 3: Health care provided to those sent to PNG from August 2013 until today

Health care arrangements, sourced from Amnesty International
02-Aug-13First refugees arrived on Manus Island.
11-16 Nov 2013Amnesty International visited Manus Island, including the initial IHMS clinic
at the centre and expressed concern that the medical facility within the
camp was unable to cope with the growing demand for health and mental
health services.
2014-Oct 2017From 2014 until October 2017, refugees were serviced by a larger and well
equipped IHMS clinic, including dispensary, at the RPC. Torture and trauma
counselling services were provided to refugees by Overseas Services to
Survivors of Torture and Trauma (OSSTT), who continue to provide these
services to refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru. Refugees at the
ELTC were serviced by a medical clinic operated by IHMS on one day a week
Oct-17In early October 2017, access to medical care changed dramatically for the
hundreds of refugees and people seeking asylum on Manus Island. They
were given three week's supply of medication, and torture and trauma
counselling services ended. Refugees were told to move to newer facilities
and access the refugee medical clinic at the ELTC or the local hospital.
31 Oct 2017
- 24 Nov 2017
On 31 October 2017, Australian government officials and contractors
withdrew from the RPC. As a result, the men were not provided with food,
water or medical care at the site for three weeks. Refugees were forcibly
transferred to the newer centres between 23 and 24 November 2017 by
PNG Immigration officials and police. On 1 November 2017, Provincial Police
Commander David Yapu told Amnesty International that the health clinic at
the ELTC was not yet 'up to standard'.
Dec-17The medical clinic at ELTC, run by IHMS, operates five and a half days a
week, with after-hours and critical care expected to be provided by the
Lorengau General Hospital, a public hospital on Manus Island. There are no
health clinics at Hillside Haus and West Lorengau Haus, the other two sites
accommodating refugees on Manus Island
30-Apr-18IHMS handed over medical care to a new local service provider, PIH,
contracted by the Australian government. Details of the contractual
arrangements with PIH were not publicly available at the time of this report.

IHMS Services from October 2017 to 30 April 2018 (when IHMS handed over the medical care to PIH)

This information was provided by the Australian Government on an answer to question on notice: Senator Stirling Griff, Answer to Question on Notice BE18/209 (7 May 2018).

Manus Island

A general practitioner-led clinic at East Lorengau Transit Centre (ELTC) operating during business hours on weekdays and on Saturday mornings, providing primary and mental health services.

A 24-hour emergency medical evacuation service (note: the coroner in Hamid Khazeai’s inquest noted that this process needed to be clearer for all parties involved).

After-hours care was provided by Lorengau General Hospital.

People who required health care and specialist services unavailable at the ELTC clinic were referred to Lorengau General Hospital or transferred to Port Moresby.

Port Moresby

People who were transferred to Port Moresby for medical treatment were supported by a medical officer and nurse liaison service provided by IHMS during business hours Monday to Saturday. The liaison service was tasked to manage and coordinate the appointments with specialists in Port Moresby.

The services were supported by a medical officer, a counsellor, liaison officers and administrative staff.

Table 4: Current health care services on Manus Island, compared with previous staffing levels

Current health care services compared with previous staffing, sourced from Senate estimates.
 IHMS (31 Jan 2018)CurrentChange  
PNGELRTCPort MoresbyRaw%
Primary Health Care9105667%
Mental Health Care831-4-50%
Other (including specialty services)22000%

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