Aus­tralia agrees to close im­mi­gra­tion camp in PNG

The Myanmar Times - - World -

AUS­TRALIA has agreed to close an im­mi­gra­tion camp hous­ing asy­lum seek­ers on Pa­pua New Guinea, the Pa­cific is­land na­tion said yes­ter­day with­out giv­ing any timeline.

Can­berra’s pol­icy of send­ing asy­lum seek­ers who ar­rive by boat to out­posts on Pa­pua New Guinea and Nauru was thrown into tur­moil in April when a PNG court or­dered the Manus Is­land cen­tre closed.

“Both Pa­pua New Guinea and Aus­tralia are in agree­ment that the cen­tre is to be closed,” PNG Prime Min­is­ter Pe­ter O’Neill said in a state­ment fol­low­ing talks with Aus­tralian Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Pe­ter Dut­ton in Port Moresby.

“It is im­por­tant that this process is not rushed but car­ried out in a care­ful man­ner.”

Can­berra has been un­der pres­sure to shut the Aus­tralian-funded Manus fa­cil­ity fol­low­ing a PNG Supreme Court rul­ing declar­ing that it was un­con­sti­tu­tional and il­le­gal.

It is also fac­ing crit­i­cism about the plight of asy­lum seek­ers on the tiny Pa­cific state of Nauru, af­ter thou­sands of leaked in­ci­dent re­ports last week de­tailed al­le­ga­tions of wide­spread abuse and self-harm, in­clud­ing chil­dren want­ing to kill them­selves.

Mr Dut­ton stressed there would be no changes to Aus­tralia’s pol­icy of re­fus­ing to re­set­tle asy­lum seek­ers who ar­rive by boat, even if they are refugees.

“Our po­si­tion is that no one from Manus Is­land Re­gional Pro­cess­ing Cen­tre will ever be set­tled in Aus­tralia,” Mr Dut­ton said.

He added that Aus­tralia had re­cently re­turned home six Sri Lankans found on board a “peo­ple-smug­gling boat” af­ter in­ter­cept­ing it at sea.

He did say how they were re­turned to Sri Lanka. –

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