Sydney, NSW 10-Dec-29, Human Rights Lawyers from the National Justice Project have launched two parallel class actions [aka representative actions] in the High Court, one for people seeking asylum who were transferred by the Australian government to Manus Island and the other for people seeking asylum who were transferred by the Australian government to Nauru. The legal team is being led by Julian Burnside QC.
The cases cover all remaining asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. They number around 1,200 in total. The plaintiffs allege that the group members in each class action have been subjected to torture, crimes against humanity and the intentional infliction of harm by the Australian Government.
The Plaintiffs argue that the conditions under which the Group Members are held inflict severe physical and/or mental pain or suffering upon the Group Members, which does not arise only from, and is not inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions. These conditions include:
- Arbitrary Imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty
- Denial of proper medical assessment and treatment
- Inadequate security and protection to asylum seekers
- Inadequate food and water
- Inadequate accommodation and unhygienic environment
They argue that Commonwealth Government intentionally continues to treat the Group Members in the manner described above in order to deter other people from trying to get to Australia by boat to seek asylum.
Our clients are seeking to enforce their civil rights rather than criminal prosecution because a prosecution for such acts under the Commonwealth Criminal Code requires the approval of the Attorney-General.
The Plaintiffs are seeking injunctions to stop the breaches of the Government’s duty of care as well as damages.