9 Aug 2013

PNG govt to address UNHCR's concerns over refugee processing

5:53 am on 9 August 2013

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says his government will address the concerns voiced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees over the asylum seeker facility on Manus Island.

The UNHCR says it's troubled by the absence of adequate protection standards and safeguards for asylum seekers and refugees in PNG.

It cites a lack of national capacity and expertise in refugee processing, and poor physical conditions within open-ended, mandatory and arbitrary detention settings.

Peter O'Neill says his government is taking into consideration, and agrees with, the UNHCR's concerns.

"We are starting to build a new facility, a permanent facility in Manus where genuine refugees will be processed. If they are genuine refugees, it (PNG's government) will now work together with the UNHCR and other governments in the region including Australia and New Zealand so that we can then participate in (determining) who we can take in to be resettled in our respective countries."

Peter O'Neill.