Australia warned on Manus
WITH the Manus Island detention centre scheduled to close today, Papua New Guinea has warned the Turnbull Government it is Australia's responsibility to deal with refugees who do not want to resettle in PNG.
The 600-plus asylum seekers are resisting attempts to move them, fearful of a violent backlash from locals who oppose the planned relocation of the men into and around the island's main town of Lorengau.
In a statement yesterday, PNG Immigration Minister Petrus Thomas said PNG had no obligation under the current arrangement to deal with those who had not been granted refugee status and refugees who refused to stay in PNG.
“They remain the responsibility of Australia to pursue third-country options and liaise with respective governments of the non-refugees for their voluntary or involuntary return," he said.
Mr Thomas said his government had discharged its responsibilities under the two countries' asylum seeker processing arrangement.
”There has to be a clear understanding of what Australia will continue to do and support PNG in the next few months to deal with the remaining case load," he said.
"I call on Australia to maintain the necessary health and mental health services, preferably by a local health service provider, or maintain the current arrangement between International Health and Medical Services and Pacific International Hospital."