Refugee policy ‘a failure’

Main Stories

AUSTRALIA’S policy to establish an offshore regional refugee processing centre on Manus is a failed one which has created a humanitarian crisis, a village court magistrate says.
Nickson Sokom, also the chairman of the Lou Island village court, said the county and its citizens, as well as the refugees, were facing the consequences of Australia’s bad foreign policy.
“In other countries like Australia itself, you cannot conduct any business on a military base,” Sokom said.
“But here (Manus), they established it at Lombrum, the (Papua New Guinea Defence Force) naval base.
“From the start till now, Australians and their government are not taking this issue seriously.
“Many times, Manus people get bad names for harassing the refugees. But that’s really the outcome of what Australia is doing. The refugees are on our soil and we have some of our girls having children from the refugees.
“So we are now facing social, economic and cultural problems.
“The refugees too are facing a humanitarian crisis simply because of a bad and failed foreign policy by the Australian government.”
He said if Australia was serious about resettling the refugees, the social, cultural and humanitarian issues faced by the refugees and the Manus people would not have arisen.
“The thing is that Australians don’t what the refugees to settle on their soil,” Sokom said.
“They are taking advantage of developing countries like Papua New Guinea and Nauru and using us to serve their own interests.”
He urged the Australian government to treat the issue seriously as its concerned human lives.