Above: PNG agrees to take some refugees .
PAPUA New Guinea's Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura confirmed yesterday that PNG would take asylum-seekers found to be refugees and that the determination process was under way.
Last week, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said a question mark remained over the fate of asylum-seekers held in PNG.
Mr Rabura (pic. above) told The Australian that about half of the 1400 asylum-seekers at the Manus Island centre were through the first part of a three-stage interview process to determine their status. About 50 had completed the third stage.
The PNG Department of Personnel Management is considering a proposal to quadruple to 20 the number of officers appointed to conduct these interviews.
Mr Rabura said the original agreement between the Australian and PNG governments still stood, which provides for a PNG role extending from processing to resettlement of refugees.
The two countries can also, he said, approach other countries in the region to take some of those identified by PNG as refugees, but resettlement "does not include Australia".
Mr Rabura said "the PNG government has decided that because settlement is a new thing to PNG, an expert panel is undertaking consultations to formulate a refugee settlement policy that is consistent with our obligations under the UN Convention".
This would in part determine whether the assistance to refugees promised by Australia "is commensurate with standards of living of ordinary PNG citizens".
Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin told parliament some of the asylum-seekers involved in the riot at the Manus centre a week ago had also been involved in the $60 million destruction of much of the Nauru centre last July, but Mr Rabura told The Australian that no asylum-seekers had been transferred from Nauru.
Mr Benjamin denied villagers played a role in the incident on Manus, but said "We Manus people are not happy, because we did not get the (financial support) that is due to us", which the PNG and Australian governments will have to address.
PNG Police Minister Nixon Durba said injuries to asylum-seekers sustained in the incident did not result from police shooting. He said that the police fired only warning shots as the fighting became more intense and the G4S security guards inside the centre appeared to be on the verge of being overwhelmed.
Mr Durban said eight asylum-seekers had jumped over the fence, but were soon arrested and detained at the police station.
The PNG government would not comment yesterday.
Above: Papua New Guinea Map and surrounding islands.
“...Mr Rabura said "the PNG government has decided that because settlement is a new thing to PNG, an expert panel is undertaking consultations to formulate a refugee settlement policy that is consistent with our obligations under the UN Convention".”.