13 Jun 2011

PNG former Prime Minister: re-opened Manus would boost international standing

7:55 pm on 13 June 2011

A former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea says re-opening the Manus Island detention centre would enhance the country's international reputation.

PNG's a signatory to a United Nations convention on refugees and the remote island in the country's north was used by Australia for the processing of its asylum seekers in the early years of the last decade.

Talks within the Australian government of resurrecting the centre have prompted the governor of PNG's National Capital District to threaten legal action on the grounds of unconstitutionality.

But Sir Rabbie Namaliu says PNG would benefit from its re-opening.

"The biggest advantage that they would be fulfilling an obligation under an international treaty to which they're a party, you know, we're a signatory. And that would be a big advantage to Papua New Guinea to be seen to be playing its part in this situation."

Sir Rabbie Namaliu says there'd be some monetary benefit in terms of the facilities on Manus Island but very little for the country as a whole.