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Manus Island security ‘improved’: PNG

Posted by on 02/05/2019

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has told Tony Abbott that the security and management of the Manus Island detention centre has improved, during a meeting with his Australian counterpart.

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Mr Abbott, along with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, made an unexpected visit to the Pacific nation on Sunday while en-route to Indonesia.

Mr O’Neill said he expressed his support of the work done by officials from both countries in resettling asylum seekers in Manus.

The PNG prime minister also assured Mr Abbott that measures have been taken to improve security and management at the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre after the “unfortunate incident” at the centre.

Iranian asylum seeker Reeza Barati was killed during a clash between asylum seekers and guards at the centre in mid-February.

An independent review of the clash found some guards had bashed escaped inmates, according to the Human Rights Law Centre.

“There is now improved coordination between the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority, police and centre security, installation of CCTV cameras and the refugee status determination process is progressing,” Mr O’Neill said in a statement following the briefing on Sunday.

He said that “due to a lack of understanding and support” for refugee resettlement in PNG communities, a new policy was also being prepared to build public awareness and support.

“The new policy will be considered by cabinet after these comprehensive public awareness and consultations are completed,” Mr O’Neill said.

The prime minister told Mr Abbott that Papua New Guinea is committed to the policy, and “given its sensitivities, requires times to work through the issues”.

The leaders also discussed the global response to Ebola and the importance of preparedness in the region.

Prime minister O’Neill is expected to join Mr Abbott in Indonesia on Monday to witness the inauguration of the newly elected president.

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