PNG Prime Minister calls for offshore detention deadline

As Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, meets with the Australian Government this weekend, he is urging the government to decide a deadline for ending the offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Refugee Activists support PNG’s calls as the six year anniversary of the July 19 policy passes, but there are still no solutions being implemented.

Mr Marape said there needs to be a timeline established going forward, and would like it to be ended as soon as possible.

Local refugee Activists support these calls, commenting on the Australian government’s lack of consultation and consideration of the impacts their decisions have had on the local PNG people.

Michelle Bui, Refugee Rights Action Network media spokesperson, hopes the Government will be receptive to the demands made by the PNG government and act on them.

“PNG used to operate as an Australian territory; it was Australian administered essentially and then they gained independence..

“But Australia has never really let go of this, as we’ve seen through the offshore processing policy in particular, and continues to exploit the land and the resources for their own political purposes,” Miss Bui commented.

As the years passed, PNG people have increasingly descanted and resisted their relationship with the Australian Government, stating this is their land and expressing opposition against this policy.

Miss Bui said there are tensions that have been underlying for a long time and are now potentially increasing… so we don’t necessarily know what will happen next.

Today July 19th marks 6 years since the Government’s offshore processing policies came into effect. Debated remain over these people needing to be resettled in countries with permanent protections so they can begin to rebuild their lives.

“It’s been six years too long, even one day, one month, one year is too long and its dragged on for six years which i think a lot of us never imagined at the time,”

“Imagine being confined to one space for six years and having all so many opportunities denied,”

We discussed how short each year feels for the everyday Australians, but how long those six years must feel for those detained.

Miss Bui said people one Manus and Nauru continuously expose the abuses and the conditions they’ve been subjected to.

But what is clear is that the Australian Government does not have a clear plan for how they’re going to resettle those affected.

Thousands of people will gather Australia wide tomorrow to rally against the Government’s policy and and call for it to cease immediately.

Perth’s protest will begin 11am tomorrow in Murray Street Mall, with over 100 people expected to turn out.

“We’re hoping to get this back in the spotlight, obviously there will be a much bigger turn out in Melbourne and Sydney, but we need to remind people that this is ongoing, it hasn’t be resolved and it needs to be dealt with immediately,” Miss Bui stated.

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