The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, announced yesterday that from now on all asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat will be send to Papua New Guinea and, if found to be refugees, will be resettled there. Past figures show that between 70 and 97 per cent of asylum seekers arriving by boat at different times have been found to be refugees – depending on international circumstances and government policy.
Below is the text of the Australian Government’s Travel Advice issued on 2 May 2013 for those intending to travel to PNG. This is the Australian Government’s view of what those refugees will face once they are released into PNG society.
I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about the morality of a government that considers this a reasonable way to treat people fleeing from fear of violence and persecution in their country of origin.
The only polite thing I can find to say about this latest move to make refugees into political footballs is NOT IN MY NAME.
For a more balanced view of the refugee arrivals situation than that provided by the Labor Party or the Coalition you might want to have a look at the summary prepared by the Parliamentary Library in February this year.
This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 02 May 2013. It contains new information under Summary and Security and safety: Crime (increase in reported incidents of sexual assault). The overall level of the advice has not changed.
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Papua New Guinea because of the high levels of serious crime.
- Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- Large crowds and public gatherings should be avoided as they may turn violent.
- Crime rates are high, particularly in the capital Port Moresby and in Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces.
- Local authorities have advised of a heightened risk of armed robbery and attack at well-attended shopping centres in urban areas, including Port Moresby.
- Since June 2011, there have been a number of violent incidents in parts of The Highlands, Oro Province, Central and Southern Bougainville, and Lae. You should exercise a high degree of caution when travelling in these areas and monitor local media reporting for information about the security situation.
- Ethnic disputes continue to flare up around the country. Disputes can quickly escalate into violent clashes. Such clashes not only create danger within the immediate area but also promote a general atmosphere of lawlessness, with an associated increase in opportunistic crime.
- Car-jacking is an ever-present threat, particularly in Port Moresby and Lae. Car doors should be locked with windows up at all times and caution should be taken when travelling after dark. In the evening or at night, we recommend you travel in a convoy.
- There has been an increase in reported incidents of sexual assault, including gang rape, and foreigners have been targeted. These crimes are primarily opportunistic and occur without warning. We recommend you monitor your personal security, in both public and private surroundings, and ensure you have appropriate security measures in place.
- Given the difficult terrain, extreme weather conditions and the condition of some remote airfields in PNG, flying in PNG carries greater safety risks than flying in Australia. On 13 October 2011, an Airlines PNG aircraft crashed near Madang, killing 28 people. Part of the Airlines PNG fleet was grounded on safety concerns but has since been cleared to fly following the implementation of additional safety measures.
- Cholera is now considered as endemic in PNG. See the Health section for more information.
- Wet season is from November to May. During the wet season flooding and landslides have resulted in deaths. Roads can become impassable. Check with local sources on the condition of roads and the likely impact of rain before travel.