by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison has confirmed this week the building of a new ‘immigration transit facility’ at the Bomana prison, located 19 kilometres north of the nation’s capital, Port Morebsy.
Spokesman for Correctional Services, Richard Mandui said the facility will accommodate for the asylum seekers currently detained on Manus Island, the smallest of the 22 provinces of PNG.
This follows an agreement that was signed last month between PNG’s Immigration and Citizenship Authority and the Papua New Guinea Correctional Services.
The ABC reported Minister Scott Morrison’s statement on the project:
“I can confirm that the Department will be building an immigration transit facility in Papua New Guinea… This will be a transit and removals centre as proposed and agreed to in the Regional Resettlement Arrangement by the previous government.”
Work on the transit facility is set to begin next year.
PNG’s chief migration officer, Mataio Rabura told The National that the facility stands to enhance PNG’s national security in that it will separate detainees from the prison population.
Port Moresby is a multi-cultural city currently facing urban poverty due to unregulated borders and policies, as well as unplanned urban growth and expansion, settlements and crime.
As of the end of October, there were 1,056 confirmed asylum seekers at the Manus detention centre on Manus Island, according to Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The ABC has reported that several-hundred asylum seekers detained on Manus Island have chosen to return home on the pretext of receiving a cash offer should they choose to do so.