10 Jun 2011

PNG's Moresby governor threatens legal action over asylum facility

1:17 pm on 10 June 2011

Papua New Guinea's National Capital District governor, Powes Parkop, is threatening legal action over Australia's proposal to reopen a controversial refugee detention centre on Manus Island .

In a statement, the Australian government says while there's no agreement over such a facility, talks about a proposed assessment centre in PNG are ongoing.

Australia processed some of its asylum seekers on Manus Island between 2001 and 2004.

Mr Parkop, a former human rights lawyer, has told the ABC the current proposal is unconstitutional and he'll challenge it in court if it goes ahead.

He says the matter is only being viewed from an economic perspective and it's immoral to make money out of people seeking a brighter future in Australia.

In documents leaked to the ABC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expresses strong reservations about the proposal.

The Australian government says it would consult the UNHCR before finalising any agreement on an assessment centre.