Media release

Respect the refugees!

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of PNG/SI

Last week Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the ABC he believed most of the 1,035 asylum seekers at the Manus Regional Processing Centre were not genuine refugees and would be sent home “within weeks”. He said talks were underway with Iran and Iraq to return the men home.

A 13-day hunger strike by the detainees in Manus was suspended on Monday, 26 January after security personnel stormed the compounds where the detainees were on hunger strike.
The hunger strike was against the plan by the PNG government to resettle the genuine refugees to a new camp in Manus Island under the guise of releasing them into the community.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (CBC) is requesting the PNG Government and the Australian Government:

To give the asylum seekers a full and efficient refugee status determination process in the Manus Centre;
To provide safe and humane conditions for the asylum seekers;
Not to force the asylum seekers to return to their country if they are not safe;
To have a detailed policy on the resettlement of refugees in PNG.

This follows previous CBC statement of 15th Jan 2015.

Rev. Fr. Victor Roche, SVD
CBC General Secretary
1 February 2015

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