9 Aug 2013

Refugees could be freed from PNG detention camp within weeks

6:19 pm on 9 August 2013

Asylum-seekers found to be genuine refugees could be freed from the Manus detention centre in Papua New Guinea within weeks and allowed to work according to PNG's chief migration officer Mataio Rabura.

Mr Rabura told the newspaper, The Australian, that long-term resettlement options could include other states which participate in the UN refugee convention, including Australia.

He says his officials are in the process of working out where in PNG to house those granted refugee status.

Mr Rabura says those not granted refugee status and who have exhausted the review process would be relocated to a transit facility in Port Moresby for repatriation to their country of origin or another country where they have right of residence.

He denied there was a cap on the number of asylum-seekers Australia could send but that if the number sent to Manus reached 15,000 they would look to establish processing centres in other provinces.

The prime minister Peter O'Neill says that many of the first 140 asylum-seekers sent to Manus under the deal he struck with the Australia's Kevin Rudd, want to be transported back to their countries of origin.