The alleged rape of a local woman at the Asylum Seeker Regional Processing Centre in the Manus Province of Papua New Guinea will be brought to the attention of Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.
PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, said today, that he is waiting for a report from the PNG Chief Migration Officer, on which he expects to act on, and also, to bring the matter to Mr Abbott’s attention, in next month’s Pacific Island Forum Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby.
Mr O’Neill said there are several versions of this rape incident, and he is waiting for official reports.
And he says the details of the Chief Migration Officer’s report, will be brought up with the Australian government.
“I also will be talking to the Australian government, and especially the prime minister, Tony Abbott, when he visits PNG next month for the Pacific Island Forum meeting. We will be discussing the issues like individuals who are committing crimes in our country, cannot be repatriated on the same day.
“It doesn’t happen anywhere in the world. They must face our law. They must be tried here under our law. It involves our citizens. And those kind of things must be respected, and appreciated.
Commentators have raised issues of sovereignty, when the news of the alleged rape at the processing centre came to light. Some local analysts say that arrangement was a bad idea from the beginning.
“That only goes to show the arrogance on the part of the Australian government. Australian law continues to be applied in those centres. Even in independent host countries like PNG and Nauru,” says one local lawyer.
Manus MP, Ronnie Knight, says the law of PNG must reign in such instances. He has said the alleged sexual abuse, can be seen as pack rape, and under PNG law, this carries a sentence of death.
“It seems to me that Lombrum (Naval Base) is becoming a ‘mini Vatican city’ in Manus. We have a small compound of Australians in our own country, and they seem to be doing what they want,” Said Mr Knight recently.
When commenting on this issue, PNG Police Commissioner, Gari Baki said any crimes committed on PNG soil, should be investigated on by the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.
“That aspect of it, has to be respected. We are a sovereign nation. We have a police force that is competent to do the investigations, and it must be given that responsibility,” Said Police Commissioner Baki.