Skip to content

'Give them freedom' - PNG bishops denounce six-year refugee detention

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
1/7/2019 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

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.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
1/7/2019 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Give them freedom, PNG bishops, six-year refugee, detention


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." 


Comments


More Asia Pacific

Families are a radical witness to hope in modern society, Archbishop Gomez says Watch

Image of

The Christian family must become a "radical" sign against a climate of despair and isolation Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said ... continue reading


Christian leaders call for dialogue, end to violence in Hong Kong Watch

Image of

Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong are continuing to demonstrate against the government's plans to allow extraditions to ... continue reading



Hong Kong extradition bill could further endanger Christians, advocates say Watch

Image of

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


Pro-life leader: All-time high abortion rate in UK shows society has failed women, children Watch

Image of

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


Caritas head applauds Philippines new anti-poverty measure Watch

Image of

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


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
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

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
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

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

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.