Joint submission to the Universal Periodic Review: Papua New Guinea

The following content is adapted from the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government will appear before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva for the third periodic review of its human rights obligations in November 2021. This review takes place as part of a peer-review process called Universal Periodic Review (UPR). PNG was last reviewed in May 2016. In advance of the review and in March 2021, the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and the Global Detention Project (GDP) made a joint submission to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), an APRRN member, actively involved across a number of relevant Working Groups (including Immigration Detention and Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Working Groups) and made significant contributions to the submission. RCOA worked closely with Caritas PNG, another APRRN member, to present the main issues on the ground. First-hand experience working with refugees transferred by Australia to PNG was drawn. This included the evidence collected during RCOA’s 2019 trip to Port Moresby when they met with a number of men who were recently released from Bomana Immigration Centre.

This joint submission focuses on human rights concerns relating to PNG’s treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum, including its use of immigration detention. Some of the main issues discussed are:

  • lack of progress with the implementation of the recommendations the PNG Government accepted in the previous UPR cycles,
  • serious gaps in support for refugees transferred by Australia,
  • lack of meaningful opportunities for integration and settlement for a small number of refugees transferred by Australia who have decided to settle in PNG,
  • lack of legal provisions for protecting the rights of refugees,
  • issues affecting West Papuan refugees, including lack of legal recognition, significant restrictions placed on this group, and lack of land and employment.

  • For the full submission, please see here.

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