Baki maintains no force to be used in Manus Refugee relocation

Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, is adamant that force will not be used in the relocation of 379 refugees still living at the decommissioned Regional Processing Centre at the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island.

Commissioner Baki said the remaining refugees will be convinced to leave the centre on their own free will.

During the weekend, none of the refugees and asylum seekers made any attempts to voluntarily leave the decommissioned Centre at Lombrum.

The PNG officials on Manus including police used a translator from Lebenon to convince the refugees to voluntarily move to their new locations.

Today the joint PNG Government team on Manus will execute Operation HELPIM FRIENDS. The Operation will be managed and coordinated by the Immigration & Citizenship Services Authority (ICSA) and assisted and supported by Police and the PNG Defence Force.

Commissioner Baki said there will be no use of force, but the refugees will be asked politely to pack up and voluntarily leave the centre. He is confident the operation will be carried out successfully and in an orderly manner.

A Mobile Squad with the local Police from Manus will be engaged in the exercise to relocate the refugees.

The Supreme Court Decision on 26 May 2016 declared the centre as unconstitutional. A recent Health Authority Report has found that the centre was unhygienic and may attract water borne diseases such as Typhoid, Dysentery and Cholera. The centre was condemned for health reason and closed for the immediate transfer of the refugees to their new locations where basic services are provided.

The status of the centre as a permanent place of immigration centre was recently revoked by the Minister for Immigration and Boarder Security Petrus Thomas, meaning that those refugees and asylum seekers are now unlawfully and illegally living in the decommissioned Centre at Lombrum and must be moved to the new declared locations. Furthermore the PNGDF is eager to take back the Military Base for its normal Military activities.


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Press Release