The new Kevin Rudd’s Government has not only sealed the deal with Papua New Guinea to be the recipient of incoming boat people, but it is also considering South Pacific countries who are signatories of the UN convention on refugees, including New Zealand, Samoa, Christmas Island, and the Philippines.
Re-blogging Friday’s post:
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has come up with his own Papua New Guinea Solution to deal with boat arrivals containing people seeking asylum in Australia. In doing so he has scrapped predecessor Julia Gillard’s Pacific Solution Mark II and embarked on a bold move towards border protection while still operating within the parameters of the UN refugee convention.
Rudd sealed the deal with his counterpart, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, in Queensland on Friday in a mutually beneficial pact: PNG will take in asylum seekers in exchange for a wide range of economic and social benefits, including funding assistance for education and health reforms, as well as security. The pact is reported to cost billions of dollars.
PNG will be the asylum seekers’ processing hub and refugees will be resettled in PNG. They will not be reverted back to Australia.
“Asylum seekers who are determined to be genuine refugees will therefore have a country of settlement, namely Papua New Guinea,” Rudd announced.
Rudd also projected a positive economic outlook for PNG as a result of the deal, although local people are reported to be pessimistic on the impact of overcrowding and severe “culture shock.”
Can this tiny island (red spot) accommodate all displaced people trying to arrive in Australia?
Located in the north, Manus Island is the smallest province in PNG with an area of 2,100 square kilometres. As of a 2011 Census, it had a population of 50,321.
Rudd said the new pact would set ”no limit” to the number of people who will now be diverted to PNG, ignoring the fact that it is estimated that more than 15,000 asylum seekers have sought to arrive in Australia in the first six months of 2013.
Detention centres in Manus have been criticised for their poor living conditions. About 215 people live there in makeshift shelters and tents. The expansion of facilities on Manus Island is underway, including a 600-bed facility due for completion in January 2014. Manus Island can only accommodate a maximum of 3,000 people.
- Asylum seekers: PNG faces breaking point (theage.com.au)
- Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s fresh asylum seeker deal to ‘shock’ Papua New Guineans (abc.net.au)
- The Rudd Solution: all maritime arrivals to be resettled in PNG (crikey.com.au)
- Federal Government launches advertising blitz to promote PNG asylum seeker deal (abc.net.au)
- PNG solution: Rudd slams door on refugees in ‘hardline’ shift (theage.com.au)
- Australia and PNG sign new asylum deal (bigpondnews.com)
- Is Australia’s new asylum policy the harshest in its history? | Alison Gerard, Azadeh Dastyari, Kerry Murphy (guardian.co.uk)
- Manus Island, the New ‘Promised Land’ for Refugees Seeking Australia (salem-news.com)