Immigration aware of self-harm cases

Steps are being taken by PNG Immigration to deal with reports of self-harm by refugees in Manus.

Chief Migration Officer, Solomon Kantha, has advised that they are aware of the increase in self-harm incidences in Manus by refugees and have taken steps to mitigate them.

Solomon Kantha said they observed an increase in self-harm incidences in recent weeks, after the Liberal Party won the elections in Australia.

“With the recent change in political leadership in PNG, these incidents have again increased to seek attention to their plight,” stated Kantha.

In the month of May alone, Manus police reported four incidences in a period of five days, at the East Lorengau Transit centre. Two refugees attempted to hang themselves, one tried to burn himself while another attempted to set alight his accommodation block.

Kantha said since the closure of the Manus Regional Processing centre in Lombrum, PNG has continued working with Australia to find durable outcomes for refugees, settling up to 200 refugees so far in the United States through the US Refugees Resettlement program. More will be resettled by the end of June.

Up to 600 non-refugees have already returned home voluntary through the Assisted Voluntary return program, managed by the International Organization for Migration.

Some refugees have settled in PNG, with one now actively involved in kickboxing in the country.

Australia has been firm in not accepting boat people travelling there to settle and with the Liberal Government remaining in power, this position may not change.

Kantha said they will continue to work with Australia and our international partners to reduce the caseload in Manus by the end of this year and eventually close the facilities in Manus.

(Chief Migration Officer, Solomon Kantha)

Sally Pokiton