Asylum seekers in PNG need safety following reports of more attacks

Amnesty International Australia is calling once again for the Australian Government to fulfill its duty of care obligations to asylum seekers left stranded on Papua New Guinea and get them to safety, following reports of yet another attack by gang members in Port Moresby.

The attackers, allegedly carrying pistols and shotguns, targeted approximately 15 asylum seekers, including one family, after overwhelming security guards on Tuesday, April 20. One refugee, who wished to remain anonymous, said that after breaking into their rooms, the gang hit some of the residents before stealing their belongings. Four residents are understood to have sustained serious injuries, most are now without any possessions and they are too terrified to return to their accommodation.

This is not the first time such attacks have occurred. Last year refugees from Manus Island who had been relocated to Port Moresby, said they endured two attacks in one month leaving one refugee with a broken leg and a security guard hospitalised. 

Dr Graham Thom, refugee adviser for Amnesty International, said: “The Australian Government, through its cruel offshore detention policy that has trapped people on PNG and Nauru for coming up to eight years, is responsible for the terrifying situation these asylum seekers now find themselves in. 

“As if years living in limbo, facing riots, detention and deaths was not enough, they also have to endure random attacks from gangs in one of the most dangerous cities in the world. This has to stop and these people must be brought to safety.

“If the Government refuses to bring them to Australia, then we implore Scott Morrison to finally accept the New Zealand offer to settle 150 refugees per year when he meets Jacinda Ardern in a few weeks.”

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