resettlement

PNG refugee resettlement failed

Dear Prime Minister,

On February 20 Papua New Guinean police raided the houses of 13 refugees who were supposedly being resettled in Port Moresby. They were arrested and forced back to Manus Island. PNG Immigration Minister, Petrus Thomas, told ABC News that 'refugee resettlement had failed.'

Yet Minister Dutton's department of Home Affairs maintains that refugees on Manus Island still have the option of settling in PNG. How is the Minister going to make that happen when PNG says no?

Resettlement in PNG was never a viable option

Dear Prime Minister,

Watna Mori, PNG lawyer, says that resettlement of Manus Island refugees in Papua New Guinea (one of Minister Dutton's 3 options) was never viable. She cites the example of seven West Papuan refugees who Australia handed over to Papua New Guinea for resettlement support but were abandoned to their own resources. She says:

As is commonly the case in PNG, once the funding and heat behind the issue disappeared, so too did the ability to care. Australia, meanwhile, distanced itself from the men once they became PNG’s problem.
— Watna Mori

Bad enough for these 7 men, but they are Melanesian and have some connection to PNG culture and society. For the refugees on Manus Island, from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, they have no such connections. The so-called PNG resettlement program has been going for more than three years and is still a failure. Barriers to resettlement are insurmountable. The current contractor, JDA Wokman, is a job recruitment agency with no experience in refugee resettlement.

The New Zealand offer of resettling 150 refugees is still available. Many Australians are willing to offer community sponsored resettlement. Will your government look at these options so that all refugees on Manus Island can be freed from limbo and allowed to restart their lives?

Accept NZ's offer

Dear Prime Minister,

In your meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on March 2nd you once again turned down New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 refugees from offshore detention per year. You said that Australia will not consider NZ's offer until the US resettlement deal was completed.

Why? Is your strategy to make sure that some refugees will never leave Manus and Nauru?

We welcome refugees

Dear Prime Minister,

Fairfield, west Sydney, resettles the largest number of refugees of any city or shire council in Australia. The Guardian (23 June 2017) reports that more than 12,000 people have been welcomed in Fairfield in the last five years. Frank Carbone, Fairfield's mayor, sets a great example of experience and welcome when he says:

Our community has told us they are willing to open their arms, open their hearts and open their homes. Because we’ve walked the road before, we understand the challenges refugees face, but we understand the benefits too.
— Frank Carbone, mayor of Fairfield

Prime Minister, allow Australia to be a leader in refugee resettlement, and start by urgently moving all refugees on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia now.