Misreporting on Manus situation: Australia

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection says there has been significant misreporting in recent days about the situation in Papua New Guinea’s Manus Province.

The department has released the following as facts.

"In April 2017, the PNG Government confirmed its commitment to close its Manus Regional Processing Centre (RPC),” says the Department.

"For the seven months until October 2017, the Department assisted the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (ICSA) to gradually decommission the RPC by transitioning services to alternative locations.

"Throughout the decommissioning period, the Department also supported PNG ICSA to provide residents of the former-RPC with factsheets about their options, with weekly updates about the decommissioning process, and with a personally addressed letter – all translated into residents' native languages and all informing them about their various options.

"At 5pm on Tuesday, 31 October 2017, PNG authorities formally closed the Manus RPC. Claims that Australia ‘abandoned’ former-residents are not correct however; the Department’s staff no longer had authority to remain on the PNG Naval Base and they departed, along with other service provider personnel and PNG ICSA staff.

"Instead of staying at the RPC, former-residents are able to move to three suitable alternative accommodation options at other locations in PNG’s Manus Province."

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection states the facilities will provide refugees and failed-asylum seekers with food, drinking water, access to health services, some recreational facilities and more.

"In addition, transport to take them from the RPC-site in comfort and security is also standing by,” continues the Australian department.

"Former-residents who choose to stay at the RPC-site are doing so fully informed that PNG has provided them with suitable alternatives and that these can be accessed at any time. Any claims to the contrary are simply not true."

The department is appealing to PNG-determined refugees and failed asylum seekers to be moved to the locations and to access the services and supports that the PNG Government has provided.

(File pic)

Meredith Kuusa