THE bishop of a Papua New Guinea diocese where asylum seekers are being held on behalf of the Australian Government has condemned the Pacific Solution as ‘immoral’.
Missionary of the Sacred Heart Bishop Ambrose Kiapseni of Kavieng diocese launched a scathing attack on the Pacific islands detention of asylum seekers in a statement dated March 13.
His diocese includes Manus Island, where refugees are detained in an agreement with the PNG Government. Bishop Kiapseni alleged PNG had come under pressure from Australia to accommodate the asylum seekers.
In his statement, Bishop Kiapseni, who is Melanesian, said Australia, in the past, had been generous to PNG, ‘for which we are truly grateful’.
‘But we come now to the question of the latest ‘gift’ to PNG – the asylum seekers at Manus Island.’
He said that as a Papua New Guinean he had to ask his country’s Christian citizens to consider carefully the issues involved.
‘Why are we keeping people innocent of any wrongdoing in PNG behind barbed wire?
‘First-class medical facilities are being made available primarily to the asylum seekers. We must compare this with the facilities we offer our citizens. The nation struggles to provide them with even the most basic health care. Is it right that a first-class facility be provided for people who do not even want to be here?’
Bishop Kiapsemi demanded that no more boat people be brought to PNG.