Asy­lum seek­ers moved from Manus Is­land to new Pa­pua New Guinea de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity, pend­ing de­por­ta­tion

Fiji Sun - - Pacific News - Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald

Port Moresby: About 50 asy­lum seek­ers in Pa­pua New Guinea who have had their claims re­jected have been trans­ferred to a newly opened de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity in Port Moresby, pend­ing their re­moval from the coun­try.

Their trans­fer to the Bo­mana Im­mi­gra­tion Cen­tre fol­lows re­cent calls by PNG Prime Min­is­ter James Marape for the “full clo­sure” of asy­lum seeker fa­cil­i­ties on Manus Is­land.

Au­thor­i­ties shifted the men from the Hill­side Haus fa­cil­ity on Manus Is­land early last month, ini­tially telling them it was a tem­po­rary shift to ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion in the capital be­cause re­pairs were be­ing con­ducted on the cen­tre. On Sun­day night, the men were moved to the new Bo­mana fa­cil­ity, which re­ceived AU$20 mil­lion (FJ$29.43m) in fund­ing from the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment. Ac­cord­ing to a no­tice ob­tained by refugee ad­vo­cates, the men were told they would need to “sur­ren­der your mo­bile phone”, any med­i­ca­tion and pack be­long­ings to pre­pare for the move to the new fa­cil­ity. “You will not leave room. Your meals and drinks will be pro­vided to you in your room. If you are on med­i­ca­tion, we will ad­min­is­ter to you,” the doc­u­ment says.

The trans­fer leaves about 150 refugees and asy­lum seek­ers on Manus Is­land and 80 in tem­po­rary ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion in Port Moresby. Last month, Mr Marape said he wanted a “mu­tu­ally work­able timetable and clo­sure pro­gramme” of asy­lum processing on the is­land.

In a state­ment, Aus­tralia’s Department of Home Af­fairs said the man­age­ment of asy­lum seek­ers in re­gional processing cen­tres was a mat­ter for PNG au­thor­i­ties.

The department said PNG law per­mit­ted de­ten­tion and re­moval of non-ci­ti­zens who do not have a right to re­main in the coun­try.

“As the Pa­pua New Guinea gov­ern­ment seeks to re­solve the re­gional processing caseload, it has de­ter­mined that th­ese failed asy­lum seek­ers should be de­tained pend­ing re­moval,” the department said.

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