Peaceful protest request refused

A request by members of the Manus Development Forum to stage a peaceful humanitarian walk in Lorengau has been refused by Manus Police due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The Manus Development Forum had written a letter to the provincial police commander’s office to seek approval for them to host a peaceful walk from Ward 2 to Lorengau town main market.

The purpose of the peaceful walk is to call for an urgent humanitarian evacuation of all refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

PPC Manus Chief Inspector David Yapu refused to grant the request due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Yapu said this is because the Catholic Bishop Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands were very vocal on the refugees and asylum seekers’ issues on Manus Island and have written a Letter to the Prime Minister and the Government expressing their grave concern and sentiments.

“The peaceful walk will only create another hostile situation and with the number of refugees and asylum seekers on the ground on Manus Island, they will take advantage of the situation.”

On November 1st last year, a panel discussion was hosted by the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands over the health status of asylum seekers and refugees in Manus, and the alarming rate of self-harm and attempted suicide committed in the last five years due to depression.

Initially they wanted the issues of the refugees to be resolved by December 25th, 2018, which was not the case. As a result, the church wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, requesting the need for a dialogue with the Australian Prime Minister and to set a clear deadline on the refugees’ issues.


Sally Pokiton