All Refugees and Non-refugees now Residing at new Facilities

26 Nov 2017

The  Minister  for Immigration  and Border  Security  Hon.   Petrus  Thomas,  MP  said today  that  the  remaining  387  refugees  and  non-refugees   at  the  decommissioned Manus Regional Processing Centre (MRPC) have all moved to the new facilities with the assistance of immigration  officers and Police on 24 November.

"I would like to thank the refugees and non-refugees  for moving for the best interest of  their  health  and  wellbeing.   Immigration   will  work  closely   with  the  service providers  at the new facilities  to ensure that the basic needs  and concerns  of these people are catered for," said Minister Thomas.

"Minister  Thomas  said  that  the  decommissioned   MRPC  is   no  longer  a  place  of immigration detention and that the new accommodation  facilities have been gazetted and  declared  as relocation  centre  for refugees  and place  of  immigration  detention effective  as of 1    November.  Refugees  and non-refugees  have also  been directed  to reside  at the new relocation  centres and place  of immigration  detention  by way of gazette  notice  as well  and  the  Chief  Migration  Officer  has been  appointed  as the Administrator  of the new facilities ".

"Immigration    no   longer   has   authority    to   keep   any   asylum    seeker   at   the decommissioned  MRPC and the place has reverted  to the PNG Defence  Force  as a military  base. Anyone remaining  would  be residing  unlawfully  and is subject to be evicted by the PNG Defence Force. Immigration  and service providers no longer  have any authority  to restore  any services  and to operate  at Lombrum  naval  base",  said Minister Thomas.

"I  would  also  like  to  acknowledge   and  thank  the  Police,   PNG  Defence  Force, Provincial   Health   Authority   and  all   other   stakeholders   for   their   support   and cooperation  over  the  past  three  weeks  in  monitoring  the  health  situation  at  the 
decommissioned MRPC and in supporting Immigration in moving the remammg residents out ofLombrum to the new facilities, said Minister Thomas".

"The  Police  and  immigration  officers  have  encouraged  the  remaining  residents  to move  for  their  own  good  to  avoid  an  imminent  health  disaster  if  the  residents remained  for another  day. Reports  of excessive  force and  beating  of refugees  and non-refugees  are false  and propagated  by individuals  with  ulterior  motives  to seek attention",  said Minister Thomas.

"I   welcome  the  presence   and  expression  of  providing   assistance  to  PNG  from international  organisations   and  non-governmental   organisations  on  the  ground  in Manus and request that they work alongside relevant PNG government  agencies and departments  to provide any form of support and not directly engaging with refugees and  non-refugees   as  that   is  the  role   of  contracted   service   providers   such  as International Health Medical  Services",  said Minister Thomas.

"I also encourage these international partners to verify accounts and include facts in their reporting  and recognise the efforts of the PNG Government  and its agencies in dealing with this very complex and challenging situation  having constant regional and international  media coverage which have been handled very well and professionally over the past three weeks", said Minister Thomas.

"Minister  Thomas thanked the Manus people for their resilience,  understanding  and hospitality  of  the  refugees  and  non-refugees  and  their  support  to  the  government agencies in Manus".

"I want to reassure  the people  of Manus that the government  through  my Ministry, PNG Immigration  and the State Negotiation  Team   Jed by the Chief  Secretary  will discuss  with  Australian  officials  a timeframe  to resettle  refugees  to third  countries and return those that are non-refugees to their home countries  so that this arrangement
a close,  said Minister Thomas".


Authroised by:

Hon. Petrus Thomas, MP

Minister for Immigration and Border Security