Hard work ahead for PNG refugee panel – Archbishop Ribat

Work is underway in Papua New Guinea to come up with recommendations for the government on the best way to re-settle refugees, currently in detention at Manus Island.

It will spend the next few weeks consulting non-government organisations, businesses and other community groups.

The panel’s deputy chair is the Archbishop of Port Moresby John Ribat.

He says they have their work cut out for them.

It’s expected to deliver its completed report to the Chief Migration Officer by mid-May.

The Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato says the panel will focus on resettling those deemed to be genuine refugees in a “Melanesian way”.

All asylum seekers held in an Australian detention centre on Manus Island who are found to be refugees will be resettled in Papua New Guinea, the governments of both countries have agreed.

Writing in the Catholic Report PNG Fr GIorgio Licini says:

“The idea if resettling thousands of Middle East, Asian and African refugees in Papua New Guinea is simply chilling. Think of the enormous cultural divide; the limited job opportunities; poor housing; different agricultural ways and traditions to name a few.

Think also of the fact that affluent countries such as Australia can always accompany the resettlement process with psychological support, language courses, proper medical care (especially for children), a different cultural and religious sensitivity.

The formal resettlement of refugees in a developing country such as Papua New Guinea is something totally new. We never heard of it taking place, let’s say, in Brazil, or Nigeria, or the Philippines, or Vanuatu.” Read more

Listen to interview with Archbishop Ribat

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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