Immigration clarifies PNG’s role in refugee issue

PNG Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas. Picture: POST COURIER

SUVA, 31 AUGUST 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – Papua New Guinea Immigration Minister Petrus Thomas says PNG only facilitates the processing of refugees and it is Australia’s responsibility to resettle them in their new countries of residence.

Thomas was responding to queries by Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin on the status of refugees and claims that more were expected to arrive in Australia.

He said the processing centre was closed on Oct 31 last year and they were not aware of any more refugees arriving.

“The purpose of bringing them to Manus (in the first place) was to process them to determine who is a refugee and who is not.

“And then Australia takes on the task of resettling them,” he said.

He said the National Executive Council had to approve the arrival of any new asylum seekers to PNG.

“There has not been any information on new asylum seekers arriving in PNG.

There are no new arrangements for the asylum seekers to come and we have not been informed of any such development.”

He said more than 100 refugees had been identified and had been resettled.

“We as Papua New Guineans offer them a helping hand to process them in our country.

“But the resettlement exercise remains the responsibility of Australia,” Thomas said