Papua New Guinea

Aussies end PNG refugee processing

Papua New Guinea and Australia have agreed to end regional processing for asylum seekers, a move that could send some non-refugees back to their home countries.

The agreement, which was signed eight years ago, will end in December this year.

Processing returned to Manus Island in 2012 after falling into disuse over nine years as an offshore process centre.

It returned in September 2013, but a court order had forced the closure of the controversial detention centre in October 2017.

Hundreds of male detainees refused to leave, but 24 days later all remaining men were moved to new accommodation.

Updated figures show that there are 124 asylum seekers remaining in PNG, most of them in the nation’s capital Port Moresby.

But only 88 of them are considered refugees.

Australia will still help others who want their claims processed and be voluntarily transferred to Nauru.

PNG will provide permanent migration pathways for those asylum seekers who wish to stay in the country.

This will include access to citizenship and other long-term support packages.

PNG will also support those who temporarily want to stay there and relocate to a third country.

This announcement comes two weeks after Australia signed an agreement to continue regional processing for asylum seekers in Nauru.

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