August 22, 2019

PNG Govt committed to ending Manus Islands Refugee processing center

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) has made significant progress towards delivering on Prime Minister Marape’s commitment to end regional processing in Manus Province and has now offered refugees the opportunity to transfer to Port Moresby.

In announcing the offer, the Hon. Petrus Thomas, Minister for Immigration and Border Security, identified the offer to relocate as a positive and significant step towards ending regional processing “the Prime Minister was clear, he wants the RRA processing in PNG to end and Australian service providers to cease – and that is what we are delivering.

This is a positive move for these men, living in Port Moresby will enable them an opportunity to make their own personal decisions and move on with their lives. I am advised that many refugees have already expressed interest in the relocation and arrangements to facilitate their transfer are being progresses by ICA”.

Minister Thomas said that he welcomed the positive commentary regarding the flexible accommodation arrangements for refugees and believes that a range of measures implemented in the recent weeks have had a comprehensive impact on bringing the RRA to an end.

“This is a complex challenge and the Marape Government has recognised the need to provide strategic direction to this issue.
The clear direction of the Prime Minister to end processing has created the opportunity for solutions that support refugees away from the traditional facilities operated by Australian service providers in Manus Province. There is no disputing that ICA is gaining momentum in this space. When the Government took office, the number of persons in PNG under the RRA was well over 500 – today that number is under 370 and only 231 are refugees not engaged in settlement. That represents a decrease in the overall caseload of more than twenty five percent in under three months”.

Minister Thomas also took the opportunity to announce more refugees have departed for the United States.

Minister Thomas said ‘We have seen a further ten refugees depart today and many more will follow.

We wish these men the very best with their new lives. PNG continues to encourage those that would like to settle here to do so. I do want to be clear that the offer to relocate to Port Moresby is only made to provide support and assistance to refugees and is not contingent on settlement”.

Minister Thomas concluded by saying that he intends to address Parliament in the next session and will provide a detailed update on activities to meet the Prime Minister’s direction.

Minister Thomas said “I will use my address an opportunity to highlight the substantial work being undertaken in my Portfolio to address the RRA and how we, as PNG's border agency, are following the Prime Minister’s lead in taking back PNG”.

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