Monday, October 30, 2017

PNG tells Australia where to go

Papua New Guinea appears to have decided that it no longer wants to host refugee concentration camps for Australia:

Refugees held on Manus Island who do not want to resettle in Papua New Guinea will not be forced to, and Australia must find them somewhere else to go, the PNG government has warned.

In a reflection of PNG’s growing frustration with Australia’s offshore processing policy the country’s minister for immigration and border protection, Petrus Thomas, issued an unprecedentedly forceful statement late on Sunday, telling Australia it held legal, financial and moral responsibility for the refugees held on Manus.

The statement was released publicly, but is clearly aimed at officials in Canberra, as the two governments negotiate this week on managing the refugee population beyond the slated closure of the Manus detention centre on Tuesday.

Pretty much no-one on Manus Island wants to resettle in Papua New Guinea, mostly because it is simply not a safe environment for them. Refugees who have attempted to become part of the local community have been assaulted. So this is basicly saying that Australia needs to take everyone and find them a new home. And given their decision on the illegality of the concentration camps, I doubt the PNG courts are going to permit forcible rendition to Nauru, so that's got to be a new home that they agree to go to. Which is exactly what Australia doesn't want to do.

Pretty obviously New Zealand could help here. And we should be talking to the PNG government about what we can do to prevent further suffering and human rights abuse by Australia.