12 Oct 2012

PNG rejects UNHCR concern over Manus detention centre

5:30 pm on 12 October 2012

Papua New Guinea's attorney general says his country's legal system is equipped to deal with refugee processing and human rights issues.

Kerenga Kua made the statement after the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said PNG lacked any national capacity to implement its international refugee obligations.

Australia is preparing to send asylum seekers to its detention centre on Manus Island within weeks.

Mr Guterres was reported as saying the UN agency was concerned about PNG's failure to sign treaties against torture, as well as the lack of procedures for the determination of refugee status.

Mr Kua says he rejects the UNHCR assessment, saying PNG has one of the best constitutions in the world in as far as protection of human rights is concerned.

PNG's 37-year-old constitution codifies most of the rights contained in the the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.