It has been claimed in a new class action submitted to the High Court of Australia, that the Australian Government subjected asylum seekers and refugees to torture. Two class actions launched Monday will allege this along with crimes against humanity and the intentional infliction of harm in operating its offshore processing system.

The parallel cases, led by Julian Burnside QC and comprising human rights lawyers from the National Justice Project, have been filed in the high court of Australia, representing all the remaining refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, and on Nauru.

The class action legal team, representing apparently more than 1000 plaintiffs, will allege they have have been subject to:

– Arbitrary imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty.
– Denial of proper medical assessment and treatment.
– Inadequate security and protection.
– Inadequate food and water.
– Inadequate accommodation and an unhygienic environment.
– Severe mental and physical pain inflicted upon the asylum seekers and refugees.

The Australian Government has held people in detention or alternative accomodation on Nauru and Manus Island for more than five years now. During this time twelve people have died during. Reasons given for these deaths have included suicide, untreated medical conditions and murder. Australia often claims that it is the responsibility of respective host countries to bear the duty of care for these asylum seekers. Memorandums of understanding note that Australia is in charge of contracting and operations, and all associated costs.