The National, Tuesday March 4th, 2014
THE Papua New Guinea Catholic Bishops Conference has described the Manus asylum detention centre as “the wrong answer to a real problem”.
The conference’s secretary of social communications, Father Giorgio Licini said there were some things which needed to be considered to address the issue.
“The first is that asylum seekers and economic migrants are in huge number all over the world,” he said.
“The three main focal points are probably the US-Mexico border in the Americas, the Mediterranean Sea in Europe and the sea between Australia and South-east Asia.
“Poor or persecuted people try to reach either the US, Europe, or Australia. Any other country of transit is considered a temporary stay.
“A large number of asylum seeker requests are processed by the competent agency of the United Nations. Another huge number of people, however, try to get into the above-mentioned affluent, tolerant and free countries with their own means – a process that technically speaking is illegal.” Licini said in principle, countries had to defend themselves from indiscriminate immigration assaults. He said Australia was already accepting a good number of refugees through the UN every year.
“For the thousands more trying to cross the sea illegally, they have now devised a solution to keep them rather on Indonesia shores by denying them any chance to ever settle in Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane. The new arrivals are taken to the remote PNG island of Manus and then sent back to their country of origin.