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Issue #1605      August 7, 2013

PNG “solution” cruel, unworkable

Despite the first transfer of asylum seekers to Manus Island, Kevin Rudd’s PNG Solution remains unworkable and untenable, says the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Tony Burke is putting on a brave face, but the PNG Solution gets more impossible with each passing day,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“There is no way to build a facility that can safely accommodate single men, let alone ever have facilities that would ever enable families or children to be sent there.

“Tony Burke cannot even overcome the threat of malaria that makes Manus Island unsafe for pregnant women and children. The first case of malaria among workers at the detention centre has just been diagnosed. Families were evacuated from Manus Island weeks before the PNG Solution was announced because Manus Island is unsafe. Most of the single men had also been transferred to Christmas Island before the PNG Solution.”

Rintoul said that as every day passes, the PNG government is more reserved and less committed to providing an enduring resettlement solution. PNG has no heart for the PNG solution. He noted that the government is only committed to the PNG Solution as long as they don’t really have to process or resettle anyone.

“The PNG government has had 10 months to establish processing procedures but there are none. After mass protests on Manus Island earlier this year, processing was meant to start in March, but nothing has happened.

“No amount of ‘tough transfers’ can hide the fact that the PNG Solution is doomed. Already more asylum seekers have arrived than could possibly be sent to even an expanded Manus Island centre.

“The government continues to victimise a small number of asylum seekers in the hope it will gain some electoral advantage. But opposition to the PNG solution is growing in Australia just as surely as the PNG Solution is unravelling.”   

Next article – No to dredging the Reef

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