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