Government Talks on Refugee Statuses Continue

by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday held talks on on-going bilateral issues.

The meeting covered a range of issues, one being the Manus Island detention centre.

The PNG Government and the officials have exerted control over the processing centre and as a result, normalcy has returned,” O’Neill said in a statement.

He added that the detainees’ statuses, once processed, will enable them to move to the transit centre where their final documentation will be completed before they may then be resettled in PNG.

The Prime Minister stressed that those who are not ‘genuine refugees’ will be sent back to their respective countries.

“Our PNG government officials have already started talking to the governments of the countries of origin,” he stated.

Meanwhile, PNG’s Chief Migration Officer and Administrator of the Manus detention centre ordered a search and clearance of the compound last week for “illegal items, contraband and weapons which transferees had been using to threaten workers with, promote instability and exert authority of others who wanted to comply with instructions”.

He also condemned the spreading of false information about what was happening at the Centre.

The search reportedly turned out mobile phones, homemade weapons and a large stock of food and water, all of which were confiscated. All workers have been warned that should they be caught smuggling mobile phones to the asylum seekers, they will “face the full force of the laws of PNG”.

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