PNG court orders deadline for refugee processing

3:03 pm on 1 July 2016

Papua New Guinea's Chief Justice has issued a two-week deadline for the remaining asylum seekers on Manus Island to be processed.

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Photo: Copyright: lisala / 123RF Stock Photo

Almost 90 per cent of the asylum seekers Australia sent to the Manus Island processing centre in PNG have been found to be genuine refugees.

Figures sought by the Supreme Court this week, and obtained by Fairfax, show that only around 12% of the detainees processed so far were rejected for refugee status.

The Guardian reports that the 87.7 per cent of people found to be refugees is an almost identical proportion to the number of boat arrivals to Australia who were later found to be genuine refugees in the previous batch in 2012-13.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island. Photo: Supplied

There are 1010 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island, the documents show, with 43 remaining under medical care of Australian authorities.

Following April's PNG supreme court ruling that holding asylum seekers and refugees at Manus against their will was illegal, PNG's government had said it would fast-track processing.

However the number of those processed has not appeared to have changed in the last two months.

PNG authorities have approved 545 people for refugee status and assessed another 76 as being "non refugees".

Thousands of Australians demand refugees not be sent back to Nauru or Manus Island, on 20 March 2016 in Melbourne.

Thousands of Australians demand refugees not be sent back to Nauru or Manus Island, on 20 March in Melbourne. Photo: Recep Sakar / ANADOLU AGENCY

389 asylum seekers are yet to have their refugee claims processed.

On Wednesday, the chief justice Sir Salamo Injia issued PNG Immigration a two-week deadline for the remaining asylum seekers to be processed.

Sir Salamo has expressed frustration at how long the processing has taken.

The court also insisted that asylum seekers now be called "residents", after the recent Supreme Court ruling.