Questions over refugee resettlement efforts in PNG

12:43 pm on 15 February 2016

A refugee advocate says there remains an uncertain future for refugees at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre in Papua New Guinea.

PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato this month said more than half of the over 900 asylum seekers at the centre have had their claims for refugee status determined.

472 have been determined to be refugees and, Mr Pato said, were "free to depart from the processing centre and commence settling in PNG".

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Asylum-seekers at Manus detention centre. Photo: Supplied by Refugee Action Coalition

But Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition said that two years on from the centre's start of operations, the PNG government still lacked a clear resettlement strategy.

Mr Pato had explained that 61 people had already left the centre to undertake training to prepare for life in PNG, six of whom have relocated from Manus to live and work elsewhere in PNG.

Mr Rintoul said those refugees already moved to a transit centre on Manus were just as vulnerable if not more than before.

"The fact that they moved to East Lorengau doesn't solve any problems for them. There's no resettlement arrangements, no capacity for family reunion, no capacity to work, no capacity to move to other places in Papua New Guinea. There is simply no resettlement arrangements, regardless of what the minister may say."