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Manus detainees to receive $70M in compensation

Manus detainees to receive $70M in compensation”

Asylum-seekers and refugees held in a remote Pacific camp were Wednesday awarded 70 million Australian dollars ($56 million) for being illegally detained and treated negligently, in what is Australia's largest human rights class action settlement.

They also said they were falsely imprisoned after Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court ruled their detention was illegal.

In making its decision, the court concluded that the class action was "objectively fair, reasonable and in the interests of the group as a whole".

Most of the 164 objections to the deal came from those still on Manus, who argued the $70 million in compensation was too low and the settlement did not resolve their ongoing plight or that of those people whose claims for refugee status are still to be determined.

"This is reached with a strong degree of conviction". About 800 people - all men - remain on the island.

As a result, political leaders have a "political imperative" to treat the detainees inhumanely, he said, and "that's exactly what they've done".

The Australian government had sued a group of lawsuits filed by the Slater and Gordon firm on behalf of 1905 refugees and asylum-seekers detained on the island, instead of continuing a six-month trial that would include evidence before the court of detainees for killings inside Detention center, systematic sexual and physical assault, and inadequate medical treatment causing injury and death.

"The court today approved an extension to the deadline for registrations, which will allow group members an extra two-and-a-half weeks", Mr Walsh said.

"The Commonwealth settled this case and paid $70 million not to have that fiction tested in court".

Some opted out of the agreement, including Iranian refugee Amir Taghinia who said money was not the most important factor for him.

"Getting that money is not the issue. It is absolutely not in favor of any of the detainees in here, but it is in favor of the law firm and the defendant".

Andrew Baker from Slater and Gordon said most of the detainees were happy with the outcome.

"Compared to other class actions, the level of engagement and participation has been extraordinary, despite the communication difficulties involved with such a geographically dispersed group".



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