The history of the Manus Island Detention Centre

November 14, 2017

November 9, 2017: Asylum seekers refuse to leave the Manus Island detention centre.

2001: Prime Minister John Howard established Manus Island as an offshore immigration detention centre.

2016: In April last year PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the Manus Island detention centre will close following a decision by the PNG Supreme Court that declared it to be unconstitutional.

July, 2013: Forty asylum seekers board a plane on Christmas Island bound for Manus Island - the first transfer under the Labor Government's Regional Settlement Arrangement.

The exterior of the residential section of the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea in August, 2011, as a deal was being done with Australia to reopen its immigration detention centre.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced in 2012 that Manus Island would be reopened to process a surge in asylum seekers.


2001: Offshore immigration detention centre established on Manus Island as part of the Howard Government’s Pacific Solution.

2008: Rudd Government closes Manus and Nauru detention centres.

November, 2012: Gillard Government reopens Manus and Nauru centres following a surge in asylum seekers arriving by boat.

July 2013: Rudd government toughens its stance on asylum seekers arriving via boat.

August 2013: Australia agrees to give PNG $400m in aid in exchange for housing the camp and agreeing to resettle refugees.

February 2014: Protests from asylum seekers lead to violent riots at Manus, with PNG police and locals reportedly attacking detainees. Iranian Reza Berati is murdered, and 62 other asylum seekers are injured.

September 2014: Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei, 24, dies in a Brisbane hospital after a cut to his foot becomes infected at Manus and he does not receive sufficient medical treatment.

January 2015: 300 detainees barricade themselves inside the compound and go on a hunger strike.

March 2015: Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is ‘‘sick of being lectured’’ by the UN over Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.

July 2015: Media reports a spate of violent crimes at Manus, including the alleged murder of a centre security guard, a machete attack and a gang rape by Australian guards.

February 2016: A class action involving 600 asylum seekers is launched in PNG’s Supreme Court to challenge the legality of the Manus centre.

April 2016: PNG Supreme Court finds Manus centre to be illegal and unconstitutional, with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirming the detention centre will be shut down.

December 2016: Sudanese refugee Faysal Ishal Ahmed dies after suffering months of blackouts, falls and seizures.

April 2017: Nine people injured during a Good Friday shooting, after PNG military personnel opened fire on the Manus Island centre.

May 2017: Papua New Guinea immigration officials confirm the centre will close on October 31.

June 2017: The Australian Government settles a class action, paying $70 million to more than 2000 detainees, but denies any liability.

August 2017: Iranian asylum seeker Hamed Shamshiripour is found dead in a suspected suicide.

September 2017: The US accepts 22 refugees from Manus Island, its first intake under a resettlement deal.

October 2017: A Sri Lankan refugee dies in Lorengau hospital.

October 2017: The UN’s refugee agency warns that Australia’s withdrawal could create a ‘‘humanitarian emergency’’, while Human Rights Watch urges Canberra to consider sending police to assist with the transition.

October 2017: More than 600 detainees refuse to leave the Manus Island detention centre, fearing for their safety in Lorengau. They have no access to water or electricity.

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