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Plight of the Manus Refugees 

28th January 2019 


The health status, acts of self-harm and attempted suicide is a daily occurrence for refugees in Manus, says Fr. Giorgio Licini, PIME, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG-SI. 


During a press conference on 28th January 2019, , Fr. Giorgio Licini, stressed in an open letter to the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea on the plight of the asylum seekers and refugees at Manus Island and those currently admitted at the Pacific International Hospital (PIH) in Port Moresby.


Following his visit to the detention centres in Manus and to PIH, Fr. Giorgio invited Hon. Peter O’Neil to visit the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at PIH and spoke on the country’s health system.


“I was in Manus on 20-22 January. While travel to Manus and to the detention centers may prove hard to your busy schedule, I warmly invite you to make a quick visit to the ICU ward of PIH at 3 Mile,” Fr. Giorgio stated in the open letter. 


“You will meet about twenty refugees and asylum seekers in a deplorable state of mental health compounded with other ailments affecting their cardiac and respiratory system, kidney failure, fractured bones, etc.”


“PIH and the PNG health system in general cannot cope with these types of diseases and the men are prevented by their status from seeking independent and autonomous medical attention elsewhere.”


“The uncertainty about their future, the rejection of claims and applications for resettlement, the length of the review process has brought to a significant breakdown in their mental health conditions.” 


Fr. Giorgio appealed to the Prime Minister to give a deadline to the authorities in Canberra for the removal of all refugees and asylum seekers from the country on the basis of strongly compelling medical and humanitarian reasons. 

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