PNG Catholics urge Australia to resettle refugees

Participants at the PNG panel discussion vote on the statement imploring Australia to act over Manus refugees (Supplied)

A Papua New Guinea panel, including the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, has called for Australia to resettle the Manus refugees by Christmas. Source: Radio NZ.

The conference, along with the Catholic Professionals Society of PNG, hosted a panel discussion in Port Moresby last week about the refugees’ plight.

The panel, which featured about 100 people, including the governor of Port Moresby and students, teachers and professionals, declared Australia has a moral obligation to look after all refugees and asylum-seekers.

The secretary of the conference, Fr Ambrose Pereira SBD, said Papua New Guinea is not able to care for the refugees.

Fr Pereira said the PNG government must pressure Australia to resettle about 650 men it has exiled to Manus.

“We are hoping for an end to this refugee situation where all will be sent into Australia or to any other country. But it needs to be Australia’s responsibility to ensure that this happens.”

Fr Pereira said Papua New Guinea is ready to help but lacks the resources. He said Australia needs to step up.

“While Australia would hide behind the fact, saying it is now the problem of Papua New Guinea, and they also issued a statement before the panel which said, ‘We are ready to help PNG and this is an issue for PNG to handle,' but I think what was stated very clearly was Australia needs to put an end to this because it is an issue they have, in fact, started.”

Fr Pereira said having the refugees resettled by Christmas would be a gift for all.

FULL STORY

Demand for Australia to take responsibility for Manus refugees (Radio NZ

Catholic church wants Christmas gift for Manus refugees (Radio NZ

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