The Manus Island detention centre will undergo a security beef-up with new fences and security cameras after February’s deadly violence.
Reza Barati was beaten so brutally during a riot at an Australian-run immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea that no amount of First-World medical care could have saved him.
The treating doctor who watched the 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker die believed there was no saving Mr Barati who went into cardiac arrest after his skull was shattered causing catastrophic brain injury.
“In the treating doctor’s opinion, Mr Barati would not have survived this injury even if it had occurred in, say, Sydney and he received the best available medical care in that city,” the report of an independent review into February’s violence at Manus Island said.
The report said a local PNG man employed at the centre by the Salvation Army led the “brutal beating”.
The Salvation Army said it condemns any criminal behaviour and any illegal action which may have taken place, occurred without its knowledge.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has accepted the review’s 13 recommendations, including a beef-up of security, granting guards powers to search asylum seekers and allowing them to use appropriate force.
The detention centre will get new fencing, extra lighting and security cameras.
Mr Morrison described Mr Barati’s death as a tragic event, admitting he could not guarantee the safety of asylum seekers despite it being his aspiration.
The review said it was impossible to apportion blame directly to one or more of the parties involved in the riot.
Nor could it nominate one factor which, if handled differently, may have resulted in fewer injuries and less damage.
Labor criticised Mr Morrison for ignoring repeated warnings about rising tensions and inadequate fencing and security at the centre.
But Mr Morrison insisted an extra 130 guards had been sent to the detention centre in the weeks leading up to the unrest on February 16-18.
However, this is contradicted by correspondence G4S released to a Senate inquiry which shows immigration department officials denied requests for an extra 100 guards.
The Greens have called for the minister’s resignation, saying he was trying to blame others for the incident.
But the minister reminded the Greens during question time about the hundreds of asylum seekers who died under the Labor policies they preferred.
PNG police are yet to lay any criminal charges over Mr Barati’s death or the beatings of scores of asylum seekers.
The review recommends the new service provider Transfield, which took over from G4S and the Salvation Army in March, weed out any PNG staff who were involved in the violence.
The report was unclear about whether the PNG police mobile squad, which has a reputation for excessive use of force, had been given consent to enter the centre.
An extra nine medical personnel have been deployed since the violence to deal with increased cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among asylum seekers.
Refugee groups are concerned asylum seekers’ lives will be put at more risk if an un-redacted version of the report, with the names of witnesses included, is given to PNG authorities.
Amnesty International accused the Australian and PNG governments of failing to take responsibility for the death of Mr Barati.