A statement from the Commission for Social Concerns of the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Catholic Bishops Conference says “… that while Papua New Guineans are not lacking in compassion for those in need, this country (unlike Australia which is a stable and thriving nation of immigrants) does not have the capacity at this time in its history to welcome a sizeable influx of refugees and provide for their immediate needs and a reasonable hope for a new and prosperous beginning. The leaders of Papua New Guinea and Australia surely know this and therefore appear to be making a very unwise decision. Papua New Guinea is rightly proud of the protection guaranteed by its Constitution to all people, citizen and non-citizen alike. We refer particularly to the section on freedom and liberty of the person (section 42) in the PNG Constitution. So is it right to bring people across our borders against their wishes? Is it right to imprison people who have not broken our laws? The implication that resettlement in PNG would be a deterrent is offensive to Papua New Guinea.”
“The new resettlement arrangements with Papua New Guinea are based on the premise that it is wrong for people fleeing from persecution to seek asylum in Australia” said Bishop Hanna “this is fundamentally untrue.” Read the statement from the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office here.
The Catholic Bishops of Papua New Guinea have rejected moves by the Parliament towards to banning other religions. Their spokesperson Father Giorgio Licini says “It is not by banning other faiths that we become more Christian.” Read more in this interview.
Archbishop Douglas Young of Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea says that calls for the death penalty in response to widespread violence, especially against women and girls, is self-defeating. Instead he suggests: What has to happen? Support programs that will help young men to find employment, identity, and satisfaction in life. Strengthen police capacity to find, arrest and prosecute offenders. Give the clear message, if you do this you will be caught and you will be punished. Change cultural norms that encourage the protection of offenders. Let’s turn our attention to policies that will genuinely address the plague of violence in PNG, not those that serve only to further brutalize the nation.