Australia to pay $52M to asylum-seekers


Australia will pay compensation of 70 million Australian dollars ($53 million) to 1,905 asylum-seekers who were held at a detention center in Papua New Guinea, lawyers said Wednesday.

Rory Walsh, an attorney at Slater & Gordon, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, said they had accepted the government compensation offer before trial.

The case claimed that detainees who had served time on the Manus island center during 2012-2016 had suffered "serious physical and psychological injuries".

"This settlement is an important step towards recognizing the extremely hostile conditions the detainees endured at Manus island," attorney Andrew Baker told reporters at a news conference in Melbourne.

Refugee rights activist Peter Farago told Anadolu Agency: "We are happy with the settlement. But they are still being held at the detention center. It would be better if they were paid after they were resettled."

Australia sends asylum-seekers who attempt to reach its shores to detention centers on Manus, Papua New Guinea or Nauru, an island country in Oceania.

The detention centers have made headlines due to reports of rape, security lapses, poor conditions and the uncertainty surrounding the future of detainees.

Rioting at Manus in February 2014 led to the death of a 23-year-old Iranian, Reza Barati.

Protests have been ongoing for the last three years to shut down the detention centers. Activists have requested that the detainees be given a chance to start a new life.

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