'Give them freedom' - PNG bishops denounce six-year refugee detention
FREE Catholic Classes
The bishops of Papua New Guinea have issued a renewed plea on behalf of the nearly 500 refugees and asylum seekers being held in indefinite detention in deteriorating conditions.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, (CNA/EWTN News) - "These people have been away from their families for the sixth Christmas... it was just another night of detention on Manus Island," said Fr. Ambrose Pereira, communication secretary for the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Facing conditions of trauma, overcrowding, and lack of food, he said, "most of them survive thanks to medicines, mostly anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotics," and many face serious side effects from taking the medications long-term without a prescription.
In a statement to Fides News Agency on Thursday, Pereira called the refugees situation "abuse and neglect," and said it causes the Papua New Guinea bishops "great suffering."
"This is not the way to treat human beings," he said.
Australia has had a system of "third country processing" since 2012 for asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat without a valid visa. The system transfers the asylum seekers to other countries, where they are processed based on that country's laws.
Many of those seeking asylum in Australia come from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Iran, traveling by boat from Indonesia. They are typically intercepted by the Australian navy before reaching land, and are then sent to detention camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, a small Micronesian nation.
The government of Australia made an agreement with the government of Papua New Guinea in 2013, providing that migrants sent to Papua New Guinea from Australia would be settled there if they are found to be refugees. Otherwise they would be sent back to their country of origin or another country where they have legal residence.
Ahead of the Nov. 17-18 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby, the Papua New Guinea government sent dozens of men who had been receiving specialized medical attention back to Manus Island, citing security needs. These men joined hundreds of other refugees and asylum seekers being held on the island.
In November, a report from Amnesty International and the Refugee Council of Australia documented serious declines in mental and physical health among the refugees in detention on Manus Island.
Three men had committed suicide, and many others had attempted suicide, the report said.
It decried the "brutal and illegal policy of offshore detention." It pointed to a decrease in mental health resources and professionals available to the refugees and asylum seekers, as well as incidents of assault and robbery against them.
"The obvious answer to almost all health problems is to give them freedom and to reduce the damage caused by stress, trauma, overcrowding and malnutrition during their detention, as highlighted by numerous reports," said Fr. Pereira in his statement.
"Refugees are waiting for the day they are released, and we hope that 2019 will bring good news for them."
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
The Christian family must become a "radical" sign against a climate of despair and isolation Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said ... continue reading
Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong are continuing to demonstrate against the government's plans to allow extraditions to ... continue reading
Though a proposed change to extradition laws in Hong Kong is on hold for now, Christian leaders and advocacy groups are continuing to speak ... continue reading
More than 200,000 UK women received an abortion in 2018, setting an all-time high rate of abortion in England and Wales. London, England, ... continue reading
A new law in the Philippines to support those living in poverty has won the praise of Caritas Manila, a Catholic aid agency in the country. ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Doctors promised disabled woman 'new doll' after planned forced abortion
- Daily Reading for Thursday, June 27th, 2019 HD Video
- Brooklyn diocese advances sainthood cause of local priest
- Portland diocese to engage third-party system for reporting ethics ...
- Daily Reading for Friday, June 28th, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, June 26, 2019
- St. Anthelm: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, June 26, 2019
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, June 24th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.