Govt reminds Australia of obligation to refugees


THE Government has reminded Australia of its obligation to look after the welfare of all refugees left in Papua New Guinea until all are resettled or choose to live in the country.
The two governments have agreed to close the Manus regional processing centre tomorrow.
Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas said PNG, as a good friend and neighbour, had offered a helping hand in 2013 to deal with the regional problem of people smuggling by agreeing to the transfer, processing and resettlement of refugees in PNG.
“It is PNG’s position that as long as there is one individual from this arrangement that remains in PNG, Australia will continue to provide financial and other support to PNG to manage the persons’ transferred under the arrangement until the last person leaves or resettles in PNG,” Thomas said.
Thomas said of the 1550 asylum seekers transferred to PNG, 610 had been assessed and determined to be refugees and 201 were non-refugees. “And 598 of these transferred have returned (to their countries) voluntarily and seven non-refuges have been deported,” he said. “So far five have died while still in PNG”
Thomas said PNG had done its best as a friend to support Australia in its time of need “and it is important that Australia continues to consult and support PNG”.

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