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Sir Salamo: Processing of refugee status fair

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Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia says that 69 per cent of asylum seekers receiving refugee status at the Manus regional processing centre shows that there is a fair and merit-based process in place.
Sir Salamo was part of a panel of three judges from the Supreme Court who refused to stop the deportation of asylum seekers classified as non-genuine refugees.
“The high number of refugees has now placed the Government of PNG and the government of Australia under enormous and onerous responsibility to settle them in a new home country of their choice, including Australia and PNG,” Sir Salamo said.
He said the respondents in the matter, the State and Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister MP Rimbink Pato had placed evidence before the court which showed that processing of asylum seekers was done carefully.
“At the peak of the transfers (of asylum seekers to Manus) in November 2013, the number of transferees reached 1339,” Sir Salamo said.
“On March 6, the number was reduced to 888. I would have to assume that the difference of 451 transferees has already been processed and no question arises in respect of them.
“The respondents (State and Pato) say some of those have returned to their home countries voluntarily.
“Of the 888, a total of 819 transferees have been processed of which 614 (69 per cent) have been determined to be genuine refugees, 205 (23 per cent) determined to be non-refugees and 69 (3 per cent) still remain asylum seekers and their applications are under processing.”
Sir Salamo said that the processing of asylum seekers’ refugee status should remain the responsibility of the PNG Government through the application of PNG law and international law on refugees. He said that also included assistance from the Australian government.
“As a sovereign nation the Government agreed to waive or exempt entry requirements under its own Migration Act and validated their (asylum seekers) entry into PNG,” he said.

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