21 Sep 2002

PNG foreign minister reiterates asylum seeker agreement will end next month

9:24 am on 21 September 2002

Papua New Guinea' s foreign minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, has reminded the Australian government that PNG will accept no further asylum seekers after the current agreement expires on October the 11th.

Sir Rabbie's confirmation follows reports of asylum seekers breaking out of the Manus processing centre last weekend in protest over what they felt was their prolonged detainment.

Of the 356 detainees in the camp, nine departed voluntarily to their own countries, twelve were relocated to Nauru and a total of 147 were accepted by New Zealand and Australia.

Most of the remaining 187 are awaiting the result of appeals after being refused refugee status.

Sir Rabbie says it their status is not finalised by the October date, they will have to be sent out of PNG under the terms of the agreement used to bring them in.

Australia also runs a detention centre in Nauru under an open-ended agreement signed last year.