PNG Prime Minister Marape’s Australia visit must prompt repatriation talks for former Manus Island detainees

Amnesty International Australia calls on the Australian government to use Prime Minister James Marape’s visit to Canberra to offer repatriation to the 55 remaining men who sought asylum in Australia, were then detained on Manus Island as part of Australia’s offshore detention regime and now remain in Papua New Guinea.

The 55 men who remain in Papua New Guinea do not have work rights and do not receive any sustainable means of income support or medical care.

Many are grappling with severe health issues, rendering them incapable of participating in any third country resettlement process unless they are brought back to Australia for urgent medical intervention.

The recent State of Emergency declared in Port Moresby places these men at even more risk.

Amnesty is also aware that a number of these men have married Papua New Guinean citizens and formed families. For those wishing to remain in Papua New Guinea, Amnesty calls on Prime Minister Marape to facilitate a durable pathway for their permanent settlement in Papua New Guinea, affording them comprehensive rights, including work rights and a clear pathway to citizenship.

Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Rights Adviser says:

“Funding provided by Australia to Papua New Guinea for the care of the remaining refugees and asylum seekers has depleted since the termination of the deal two years ago. Without any financial security and prevented from working, these men confront the imminent risk of eviction from their houses ongoing and destitution.

“They must be transferred to Australia immediately, even if this is an interim arrangement until resettlement solutions are found.”

Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Rights Adviser

“While the majority of these individuals are on a pathway towards resettlement in a third country, they remain faced with extremely challenging conditions in PNG, including the recently declared State of Emergency in Port Moresby. Any processes of resettlement can continue from within Australia.

“It is time to draw a line under this shameful period in Australia’s history. The Australian government must transfer all refugees and people seeking asylum remaining in Papua New Guinea to Australia and release them into the community with appropriate support while they await durable resettlement options.”