Call for fast processing of asylum seekers on Manus


THE Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) of Papua New Guinea is pushing for a date for Australia and PNG to settle the remaining 133 asylum seekers in Manus.
The CBC said social and health issues and psychological, moral and physical issues in delaying the processing of refugees were of concern to the Catholic Church.
The CBC and panel comprising of representatives from the Department of Immigration, United Nations human rights, human rights lawyer of the Catholic Professionals Society, NCD Governor Powes Parkop and Fr Clement Taulam, of the Manus Diocese, called on both countries to properly settle the asylum seekers.
Fr Clement said the process was taking too long for the refugees to be permanently settled.
“For me living with these people in Manus, there were some situations of restrictions by security but until recently it has been quite well and I do visit for the spiritual wellbeing of the refugees,” he said.
“Now is the sixth year we are holding them in Manus. Some are getting frustrated, impatient and had taken their lives and the process is still going on.
“So what are we going to do?”
Parkop said PNG did not have a culture to detain and confine people.
“We helped Australia but she took us for granted and left the problem with us,” he said.
“Now they are washing their hands and saying it was our problem, and I don’t accept that.
“They have to be objective, they did not come here by choice to break our law, they did not want to come to PNG, what laws did they breach, our constitution is very clear. You cannot put someone into detention unless they are guilty. So I don’t agree with the inhumane ways we are giving to them.”
Parkop said they must be settled in a place where they could live but not in Papua New Guinea.

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