Over 600 get refugee status

The National, Tuesday July 19th, 2016

MORE than 600 asylum seekers in Manus have been processed and given refugee status.
That was made known in the Supreme Court yesterday by lawyer Laias Kandi.
Kandi, representing Immigration and Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato and Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura, also informed the court that 203 asylum seekers were yet to be determined.
He said out of the 203 asylum seekers, 129 had been assessed and were awaiting the minister’s decision while 74 were still undergoing a merit review process.
The court has given the respondents 14 weeks to process the remaining 203 asylum seekers, including 30 who are in Australia for medical treatment. The respondents were told to provide a report to the court.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia told lawyer Ben Lomai, who is representing the asylum seekers and the refugees, to produce five cases from the 636 refugees granted refugee status to be tried as test cases on Monday.
Sir Salamo instructed parties to inform the court on Monday on jurisdiction issues regarding the resettlement of the confirmed refugees.
Lomai asked the court that his clients already granted refugee status be dealt with quickly in accordance with a Supreme Court decision on April 26 in an application by former Opposition leader Belden Namah.
Regarding Namah’s application, the court had ordered that the detention of asylum seekers in Manus was unconstitutional and illegal, and the Australia and Papua New Guinea governments “shall” take steps to stop the detention centre.
According to the  information given to the court yesterday, 636 from a total of 1010 asylum seekers in Manus were given refugee status, 128 identified as non-refugees, 43 were in Australia for medical treatment of which 13 were refugees.