Human rights issues in Papua New Guinea
Lead NCPAustralia
Supporting NCP(s)None Selected
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by an NGO regarding the activities of a UK headquartered company operating in Papua New Guinea.
Theme(s)Human rights
Date23 Sep 2014
Host country(ies)Papua New Guinea
SourceNGO
Industry sectorPublic administration and defence
StatusNot accepted
Summary

Read the final statement issued by the Australian NCP concluding the specific instance - 10 June 2015


In September 2014 the Australian NCP received a request for review from an NGO alleging that an UK-based security company had breached the human rights provisions of the Guidelines on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

The NCP has undertaken an initial assessment of the specific instance and concluded that it is not appropriate for the NCP to analyse the NGOs request further. These reasons are outlined in the NCP's final statement and reproduced below.

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In reaching this conclusion, the ANCP considered the three aspects to the NGO's submission:

  • The role of G4S in giving effect to Government policy.
  • The conduct of G4S staff in delivering on the contract with the Government.
  • Legal liability for events at the MRPC.

The role of G4S in giving effect to Government policy.
The ANCP considers that aspects of the complaint could be interpreted as commentary on government policy. However, G4S as service provider is not accountable for government policy and other mechanisms exist for review and scrutiny of policy. The ANCP is not the most appropriate vehicle for resolution of such matters. It is not the role of the ANCP to issue commentary, whether intended or otherwise, on government policies or law.

The conduct of G4S staff in delivering on the contract with the Government.
The conduct of G4S staff is relevant to the OECD guidelines. In this regard, the ANCP notes the reviews that have already taken place in respect of the MRPC, which have reviewed the conduct of G4S staff:

Two independent reviews and subsequent reports by Robert Cornall AO to the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Amongst the recommendations of the Review into the Events of 16-18 February 2014 at the Manus Regional Processing Centre are those relating to conditions and training of staff. These reports are available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

A Senate Inquiry into the Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014. The Inquiry released its report on 11 December 2014 which contained a number of recommendations, including one relating to ensuring the adequacy of training for staff at the MRPC. View report: Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014.

The ANCP is of the view that a further review of G4S conduct at the MRPC would be unlikely to add further value to these already extensive reviews. As G4S has not operated the facility since March 2014, there is unlikely to be any new information that can be brought to light on its operation of the MRPC.

Legal liability for events at the Manus Regional Processing Centre.
The have been various legal proceedings in relation to incidents at the MRPC, some of which are ongoing including:

  • A civil proceeding, RN v Commonwealth of Commonwealth of Australia and Anor, before the Supreme Court of Victoria relating to the alleged injury of a MRPC transferee.
  • A class action, Kamasaee v Commonwealth & Ors, to be considered in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
  • Legal proceedings within PNG, including cases with the PNG Supreme Court.

It is clearly not appropriate for the ANCP to intervene in any way in due legal processes, either domestic or international.