Manus centre is cobbled together: PNG judge

ASYLUM seekers on Manus Island are living in a “cobbled together detention centre” in a tense atmosphere, according to a Papua New Guinean judge.
Manus centre is cobbled together: PNG judge 
Manus centre is cobbled together: PNG judge 
Manus centre is cobbled together: PNG judge 
Manus centre is cobbled together: PNG judge 
Manus centre is cobbled together: PNG judge

Justice David Cannings and a court-appointed party visited the Manus facility on Tuesday morning as part of an inquiry into whether asylum seekers' basic human rights were being respected.

Addressing the court in Lorengau yesterday, Cannings said he found the atmosphere to be tense and several asylum seekers were in agitated states and had to be calmed.

"That's a factual observation," he told the court.

"As for reasons for that, one can speculate.

"The very presence of a judge and perhaps the knowledge or partial knowledge of the transferees that the judge was coming to observe added to the tension."

Cannings did not directly talk to the asylum seekers but observed the conditions at the centre.

However, transferees tried to talk to the court party about the poor condition of the toilets, making suggestions they were "scrubbed up for the [court] party", the Guardian reported.

Cannings said asylum seekers were mostly sleeping in 40-man dormitories and medical facilities appeared well-equipped and clean.

"The authority has done the best it can but the facility seems to have been cobbled together at short notice," he was reported as saying.

"It is obviously not a facility that was dealt with as a coherent whole."

Asylum seekers and staff ate the same food but "the dining facilities were not overly clean and hygienic", he said.

The court will hear the testimonies of four asylum seekers who will speak through translators when the inquiry continues today.

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