PNG demands action on asylum-seekers

A mobile unit from PNGs paramilitary squad is on Manus following the self-harm incidents (ABC News/Natalie Whiting)

Papua New Guinea officials have called for the Australian Government to take action as the detention centre sees an escalation of asylum-seekers self-harming since the federal election. Source: ABC News.

“We've seen a number of cases of attempted suicide, self-harm, and that is something. It's a surprise to us because it's been happening within a short period of time," Chief Inspector David Yapu told ABC’s 7.30.

Chief Inspector Yapu said police are limited in what they can do, and he wants the PNG and Australian governments to step in.

"This is something that's beyond our control," he said.

"If we see one lose his life, our reputation and our credibility will be questioned, how best have we dealt with the situation."

After almost six years and with the self-harm incidents escalating, he is not alone in calling for an intervention. Governor of the Manus Province Charlie Benjamin is also calling for action from the Australian Government.

"They don't want to be here and Australia, you have to take responsibility. You have to move them," Mr Benjamin said.

There has been a dramatic increase in self-harm and suicide attempts among the refugees and non-refugees in Papua New Guinea since the Australian election. Many had pinned their hopes on Labor winning the election in May.

The Labor Party had promised that if elected, it would accept New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees out of Australian offshore detention.

Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin said he expected that the asylum-seekers would all have been processed and moved on by now. He wants the Australian Government to remove the remaining men

"I think the Australian Government should do something about it — immediately," he said.

Mr Benjamin was concerned by the recent suicide attempts, the damage to Manus's reputation as a safe and welcoming place, and the social problems he said the project had brought.

"The PNG Government can't do much and [Manus] can't do much. If we allow them to stay here, we will get even more problems, nothing will be solved," he said.

"We have to solve this problem and the only way to solve this problem is for Australia to act."

In a statement to the ABC, the Home Affairs Department said it continues to "work closely with the governments of PNG and Nauru to ensure transferees are provided with appropriate health and welfare support services."


Manus Governor demands action from Australia as Behrouz Boochani says self-harm has spiked(ABC News)


Refugee sets self on fire at Manus Island amid 'mental health crisis' (Sydney Morning Herald

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