Manus refugees in limbo

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Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist held at the Manus regional processing centre, says that detainees at the centre are in limbo because the Australian government insists that they must live in PNG.
“We did not come to live in PNG,” Boochani told The National.
“It is against international laws and international conventions that they want to settle me in PNG by force. It’s clearly against human rights and it’s modern slavery,” he said.
Boochani said he and other detainees had refused to be processed by PNG Immigration but they were told that they must live in PNG.
“I  arrived in Australia on July 23, 2013, and they (Australia) exiled me by force to Manus and have kept me i for more than three years and now say that you must live in Papua New Guinea.”
He fled Iran in May 2013, because of his political opinion against the government there.
He said he fled to Australia because he thought that it was a free and democratic country.
“But they (Australia) exiled me by force to Papua New Guinea,” Boochani said.
“We don’t want to live in PNG by force and it’s our human rights because we did not come to PNG and they always use force against us. I am a human rights defender and continue to work inside this prison (centre).”
Boochani said detainees cannot move freely outside of the centre.
“There is a bus in front of the gate and we have to get in the bus and go to Lorengau,” he said.
“Most of the people do not go outside and only a few persons go outside each day. This place is a navy place (Lombrum Naval Base) and we cannot go outside.”
Boochani said the Supreme Court’s decision in April declaring their detention on Manus as unconstitutional was clear.
“I wonder how Australian government did not care about court decision and have kept us here,” he said.
“I wonder why Papua New Guinea government is silent and does not have respect for the court decision.”
Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato recently stated that most refugees based at the Manus regional processing centre had refused to be resettled in Papua New Guinea.

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