PNG bishops issue plea for help for asylum-seekers

Fr Giorgio Licini (Facebook)

Australia should open up a new medevac pathway for asylum-seekers formerly detained on Manus Island and now living in Papua New Guinea, according to the Bishops’ Conference of PNG and the Solomon Islands. Source: UCA News.

In a statement to mark World Refugee Day on Monday signed by the bishops conference general secretary, Fr Georgio Licini, the bishops said more should be done to ease the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers in PNG.

The statement said these asylum-seekers and refugees, including those from Indonesia's Papua region who fled their homes because of political and security problems, have been neglected for years and as such are “vulnerable people exposed to more risks”.

Fr Licini said about 12,000 Melanesians from Papua are now living in PNG, mainly in the National Capital District and in Western and Sandaun provinces, who find it difficult to integrate within society.

“Prolonged refugee processing, lack of government-issued identity documentation and, importantly, land concessions” are some of the major issues that continue to hold these people back, he said.

He also raised the issue of 1523 men forcibly transferred to Manus Island from Australia in 2013 under a resettlement agreement. Some 104 remain in PNG, mainly of Middle Eastern and Asian origin including Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

“There is a particular and extreme concern for the elderly and a dozen with a variety of chronic health issues whose conditions will soon descend into utter despair and physical destitution,” Fr Licini said.

He called on the new Australian Government to open a new medevac pathway to properly address issues of mental health, cardiovascular conditions, fractured bones and skin diseases.


Bishops issue plea to help refugees in Papua New Guinea (UCA News

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