The Australian government likes its refugees out of sight and out of mind. So it built offshore facilities to detain them. And it contracted them out to private companies. But now, a landmark settlement means that hundreds of refugees will receive millions of Australian dollars in damages.
Australia’s governments built offshore detention facilities on Christmas Island (Australian territory), Nauru (a sovereign state), and Manus Island (part of Papua New Guinea (PNG)). Many of the refugees detained in those facilities have been there for years. Earlier this year, Australian lawyers began a class action on behalf of those detained (all men) on Manus. And this week, in a landmark settlement, it was announced that 1,905 current and former refugees detained on the island will receive A$70m (£42m) in damages from the Australian government and its contractors. But it doesn’t stop there. Around 5,800 claims are currently being (or are expected to be) lodged by refugees and asylum seekers against the Australian government. And the total costs could well exceed the Manus payout.
To read more on the complexities of what is happening to Australia’s refugees, click here.