WelCom August 2021
On 19 July 2021, PNG Bishops called for Australia to legislate for the freedom and resettlement in Australia of detainees on Manus Island and Nauru who are unable to return to their home country.
The date, 19 July, marks the eighth anniversary since the Australian Parliament legislated the mandatory, indefinite offshore detention of asylum seekers arriving by boat and the prohibition of their settlement in Australia.
In a letter to the Australian Parliament, the Catholic Bishops Conference in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands called on the Australian Parliament to ‘erase any trace of past colonial demand and fully implement a new style of compassionate and participative leadership in the Pacific’, arguing those involved in assisting the men affected by the current policy are all exhausted by the prolonged effort.
The bishops argue the 127 men have served their purpose by ‘stopping the boats’. The bishops said the Australian Government should close this chapter as soon as possible by ‘allowing people who have sacrificed so much for your country, and whose acute suffering we see every day, to access a reasonable and acceptable level of freedom and dignity in Australia; specifically, those who cannot return home and have no option of resettlement to a third country’.