17 Feb 2015

Vigils held to mark Manus killing anniversary

8:39 pm on 17 February 2015

Protest vigils in Australia, including a sky-writing event in Sydney and Canberra, have marked the one year anniversary of the death of an asylum seeker at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

23-year-old Reza Barati was killed and several others were injured in two nights of violent clashes at the centre on February 17th last year.

Two former guards have been arrested and charged by PNG police, although the case has never gone to trial and two foreign workers also wanted by police have never been found.

An asylum-seeker holds a picture of Reza Barati who died at the detention centre.

An asylum-seeker holds a picture of Reza Barati who died at the detention centre. Photo: AAP

A spokesperson for the Australia-based Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, says there is still no justice for Mr Barati and investigations into the incident show all signs of a cover-up.

A constitutional inquiry was set up by a PNG High Court justice, David Cannings, soon after the clashes to determine if asylum seekers' human rights had been abused.

But the inquiry was stayed by the Supreme Court after PNG's government appealed.

Mr Rintoul says ultimate responsibility for Mr Barati's death lies with Australia's government, which established and funds the centre.

A report by Australia's Senate, released in December, said its inability to cope with an influx of detainees, combined with the absence of any clear resettlement framework, created an environment where unrest was inevitable.

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