The Violent Conclusion: Manus Island and the Clearing of Lombrom Naval Base

It was another etching in a chronicle of extended violence.  For days, resistance by refugees and asylum seekers against forced removal from the Lombrom Naval Base on Manus Island had taken very public form.  Images of defiance and distress were receiving international attention.  With no electricity, with water supplies destroyed, things were getting dire.

As the weekend dawned, PNG officials were claiming that the remaining 328 men from the base had been moved to new camps in Lorengau.  To these can be added the 50 men or so forcibly removed a day prior.  Journalists from the ABC noted the use of 12 buses taking men and goods to East Lorengau centre on Friday, though they were unsure how many people were on them.

According to refugee Behrouz Boochani, the journalistic spark in the abysmal dark, “The refugees are saying they are leaving the prison camp because the police are using violence and very angry.”  The clearing operation was nearing its conclusion.

According to Thomas Albrecht, the UNCHR’s regional representative in Canberra, “The situation still unfolding on Manus Island presents a grave risk of further deterioration, and of further damage to extremely vulnerable human beings.”

In a world of parallel universes, where the views of the heavy-handed come up against those of the persecuted, narratives differ vastly.  PNG Police Commissioner Gari Baki tends to assume all matters of force as relative.  Removing the men (the term…

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