Outrage as Australia walks away from PNG refugee responsibilities

Manus Island detention centre
Ian Rintoul (right) on Manus Island with Abdul Aziz Muhamat and Behrouz Boochani ... the Australian offshore centre in PNG was declared illegal five years ago, but 124 refugees remain in limbo. Image: Behrouz Boochani

RNZ Pacific

The Refugee Action Coalition has called Australia’s apparent attempt to walk away from its responsibilities for the refugees it dumped in Papua New Guinea an outrage.

Australia announced last week that by the end of this year it will end its offshore detention arrangement with PNG.

The scheme was declared illegal by the PNG courts five years ago but 124 people, most of whom have been judged to be refugees, remain there.

The coalition’s Ian Rintoul said PNG had no capacity, or desire, to look after these people, or search for third countries to take them off their hands.

“I think it is just a continuation of the Australian government trying to distance itself from the atrocities they are responsible for in Manus Island in Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“They have been trying for many years to try and distance themselves from the responsibility for people that they took there illegally, according to PNG law, but who they take no responsibility for.”

Last month Australia signed a new long term commitment with Nauru to continue to run its detention facility — the only place where Australia will send people trying to arrive on the mainland illegally by boat.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email