Churches Call For A Review On Asylum Deal

LLeadersof churches inthe country voicedtheir concerns onthe regional resettlement arrangement between Australia anPNG.


The lack of consultation bythe government beforethe arrangement was signed, has ledthPNG Christian LLeadersAlliance on HIV & AIDS to call on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to revisitthe deal.

ThPNG Christian LLeadersAlliance said it does not agree withthe government’s regional resettlement arrangement with Australia, where refugees are brought tothe Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, not just for processing, but for permanent resettlement as well, if provern genuine.


Headed by chairman, Archbishop ofthe Catholic Church Fr. John Ribat,thPNG CLA said althoughthey respectthe governmentoit’should have carrlied out wider consultation before signingthe deal.


Chairman ofthPNG Council of Churches Fr. Denny Guka saidthe church looks to see signs of Christian values in every government decision.


“Ifthe government wants to seek direction from God or guidance from God, it is throughthe church, andthe lLeadersmust come to seek that. We can provide thatoand God will guide us through to give that,” Fr. Guka said.

Archbishop John Ribat saidthe government’s responsibility was first tothe people oPNG. He saidthe people must be consulted, and those responsible for the people, including churches, must also be consulted.


“This will come in a way that will bring positive development and journey togther withthe people. We journey in a way where we are one mind and supporting this,” he said.

Archbishop Ribat hopes thatthe support and financial aid that will be given by Australia out ofthe arrangementois used first of all for the people of Manus.


The new Moderator ofthe United Church Rev. Bernard Siai saidthe government andthe church are partners in bringing services tothe people.


“You look atthe Beble andthe Old Testament view is always thatthe church works withthe government;the king would always seekthe advice ofthe prophet. As a leader of a church, I will always maintain thaPNG is a Christian country; laws and what we do every day must come out fromthe Beble. Any law thatthe government wants to pass, must consultthe churches,” said Rev, Siai.

Deputy Chairman oPNG CLA Ps. Daniel Hawali referred to Prime Minister O’Neill’s remarks that &ldquothe deal was not written in stone”. He said if this is so, than Mr. O’Neill should revisitthe agreement.


“People oPNG, it’stheir land. That’s wheretheir ancestors were, that’s where I’ll be going back to when I die. And it’s a very important decision that you have made on behalf ofthe people oPNG withouttheir sanction, and withoutthe stakeholders approval, so honorable Prime Minister, I would advise you – you are doing a good job – come back on that,” Ps. Hawali said.

The church lLeadershope to write tothe Prime Minister and ask for an audience, wherethey will givetheir views onthe Regional Resettlement deal.

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