16 Aug 2002

PNG Defence Minister strongly against processing more Australian boatpeople

4:00 pm on 16 August 2002

Papua New Guinea's new defence minister, Kappa Yarka, says he is against further proposals to Australia to process boatpeople in PNG.

The previous government agreed to an Australian request to use a base on Manus as a detention centre for asylumseekers who Australia refuses to process on its own territory.

Mr Yarka has urged the new government not to renew the arrangement with Canberra which opponents want to have tested in court because they say the detention of foreigners by foreigners on PNG soil is unconstitutional.

The minister says while PNG doesn't condone illegal migration, the unilateral imposition by Australia of its Pacific solution undermines the sovereignty of the countries.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in PNG says the current Australian policy is inappropriate because basic human rights are not upheld on Manus.