3 Mar 2014

PNG's Catholic bishops call for Manus to be closed

8:22 pm on 3 March 2014

Papua New Guinea's Catholic Bishops Conference is again appealing for the Australian and PNG governments to close the asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island.

The general secretary of the country's peak catholic body, Father Victor Roche, says he was appalled to hear about clashes at the centre a fortnight ago that left 23-year-old Reza Berati dead and over 60 others injured.

He says Australia's refugee policies of detention in PNG are unacceptable, even as a deterrent, and Australia needs to manage its own asylum seekers on its soil.

"Asylum seekers who come to Papua New Guinea, they do not come to seek asylum here, they want to go to Australia. So the stand of the Catholic Bishops is that the process should be done in Australia and not in Papua New Guinea or in Manus."

Victor Roche says if the camp won't be closed, then a vast improvement to how the asylum seekers are treated is needed.