The Manus Regional Processing Centre, or Manus Island Regional Processing Centre (MIRCP), was one of a number of offshore Australian immigration detention facilities. The Centre was located on the PNG Navy Base Lombrum (previously a Royal Australian Navy base called HMAS Tarangau) on Los Negros Island in Manus Province, Papua New Guinea.
It was originally established in 2001, along with Nauru Regional Processing Centre, as an “offshore processing centre” (OPC) as part of the Pacific Solution policy created by the Howard government. After falling into disuse in 2003, it was formally closed by the first Rudd government in 2008, but reopened by the Gillard government in 2012. As part of the PNG Solution by the second Rudd government, it was announced in July 2013 that those sent to PNG would never be resettled in Australia. After Tony Abbott became PM in a change of government a few months later, the government announced its Operation Sovereign Borders policy, aimed at stopping maritime arrivals of asylum seekers to Australia, commencing on 18 September 2013.
Many high-profile and ordinary Australians called for the Centre to be closed and the men brought to Australia or resettled elsewhere, over the seven years of its existence. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has cited the centre as an “indictment of a policy meant to avoid Australia’s international obligations”. It was formally closed on 31 October 2017; however hundreds of detainees (“transferees” according to the Australian government) refused to leave the centre and a stand-off ensued. On 23 November 2017, a few were resettled in the United States as part of a refugee swap deal.
Between August and November 2019, the last former detainees were moved to Port Moresby, with the government’s regional processing contractors instructed to terminate services on 30 November 2019. High-profile detainee, the Iranian-Kurdish writer and activist Behrouz Boochani, went to New Zealand in November on a one-month visa to speak at WORD Christchurch event.
As of November 2019 at least eight of the detainees have died by various means, including suicides, some on Manus and some after being transferred to Australia on medical grounds, since first being detained in the facility.
The Manus Regional Processing Centre, officially Manus Island Regional Processing Centre (MIRCP), was one of a number of offshore Australian immigration detention facilities created after the Australian Government instituted its Operation Sovereign Borders policy, aimed at stopping maritime arrivals of asylum seekers to Australia. The operation is the outcome of a 2013 federal election policy of the Coalition, which commenced on 18 September 2013 after the election of the Abbott Government.
From November 2012 the British services company G4S was responsible for its operation. From March 2014, security was managed by Wilson, while food and maintenance at the centre were operated by Transfield Services, later renamed Broadspectrum, until Ferrovial bought out that company and its contract in April 2016.
After the centre had officially ceased operating as a detention centre at the end of 2017, Paladin Holdings and NKW Holdings were given contracts to maintain the camp.