Manus processing centre a gesture of goodwill, states Minister

The Manus Island Processing Centre is a demonstration of the PNG Government's humanitarian gesture, goodwill and recognition of the country's international human rights obligations, says Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Rimbink Pato.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on 19 September, he said: "It also demonstrates the bilateral and regional cooperation with Australia and other partners since 2012, to address not only refugees and migrants but combat the despicable acts of people smuggling and human trafficking for profit by criminal syndicates and others”.

Pato was amongst world leaders who participated at UN meet to seek solutions to the escalating global humanitarian crisis concerning the large movement of refugees and migrants.

World leaders unanimously adopted the New York Declaration, which provides a non-binding platform that sets out a range of commitments such as protecting human rights and global cooperation to deal with mass movement of refugees and migrants worldwide.

The Foreign Minister underscored Papua New Guinea's commitment to be an integral part of the global solution to the plight of mass migration of refugees and migrants. He also pledged Papua New Guinea's support for the key commitments outlined in the New York Declaration adopted at the meeting by the world leaders.

"Papua New Guinea currently hosts a total of 1, 007 refugees and other migrants from around the world at the regional processing facility on Manus Island, and of these total, 671 are prima facie refugees, 204 asylum seekers and 132 migrants," said the Minister.

He added that the majority of the refugees refuse to be resettled in the country and he appealed to third countries to receive them.

He also noted that outside of the Manus Facility, over 20,000 other asylum seekers from neighbouring countries are spread across the country and are contributing to the nation’s development.

Foreign Minister Pato actively participated, including co-chairing with Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, the Roundtable on "addressing vulnerabilities of refugees and migrants on their journey from their countries of origin to their countries of arrival". He also delivered two statements at the plenary session and also at the Roundtable that addressed "International Action and Cooperation on Refugees and Migrants and Issues related to Displacement: The Way Forward".

Press release