Forty-four transferred from Manus to Port Moresby, but refugee relocation is no solution

| August 28, 2019 | Reply

Photo of the bus at East Lorengau

Forty-four refugees from two compounds (10 from West Haus and 34 from East Lorengau compound) on Manus Island are being transferred from Manus Island to Port Moresby this afternoon.

The refugees are being transferred for medical treatment and other to ‘progress their US resettlement applications’.

But there are suspicions that today’s relocations are part of a wider plan to “end Manus detention arrangements” by transferring all remaining refugees and asylum seekers from Manus to Port Moresby. (Fifty-three asylum seekers remain incommunicado in the Australian-built Bomana detention centre after being lured to Port Moresby in early July on the false understanding that Hillside compound on Manus was undergoing repairs.)

On 19 August, refugees on Manus were asked to express interest in transferring from Manus to Port Moresby (notice below). But the offer was a sham.

Enquiries by refugees revealed that there were no details of actual accommodation, services or allowance that would be provided in Port Moresby.

Previous transfers from Manus to Port Moresby have left refugees jobless, homeless and destitute with even less access to medical care than they have on Manus Island. Ironically, refugees were asked to contact JDA, a service provider already under investigation for rorting its multi-million dollar contract with the Australian government, including allegations that contracted services were not provided to refugees.

“Relocation to Port Moresby will potentially create even worse circumstances for refugees in PNG,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The refugees need permanent, safe resettlement, but after six years, the government still has no options to provide protection for all those they have kept imprisoned on Manus Island.

“The government is just prolonging the agony. Despite continued calls from the new PNG government to announce a timeline to finally end Manus processing, the Australian government is stalling. Relocation from Manus to Port Moresby even risks adding to the danger and insecurity that the refugees have already suffered.”

With the transfers to Port Moresby, around 80 refugees remain on Manus Island. Around 70 refugees have been waiting in Port Moresby for months for transfer to the US.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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