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PNG FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER UNAWARE OF PNG ASYLUM SEEKER

Port Moresby (EMTV) : PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato said PNG does not have laws to protect Papua New Guineans who seek asylum in other countries.

Mr. Pato said nothing of this nature has been incorporated in the deal signed with Australia as well.
Last weekend a Papua New Guinean man was alleged to be amongst other asylum seekers found heading from Torres Strait to Australia. The Australia Immigration department said medical and identity checks have been carried out; however they have refused to release his identity.

The minister was also not sure whether this man will be processed in the Manus asylum centre after undergoing medical and identity checks in Australia.

PNG Foreign Affairs minister: Rimbink Pato: EMTV Photo
He said the deal covered those seeking asylum in Australia. There was no special exemption given to Papua New Guineans.

The minister said government and even himself never thought Papua New Guineans would seek asylum in other countries in the world.

The Australian High Commission in PNG confirmed that the man was among other asylum seekers heading to Australia from Torres Strait Islands.

Australia's National Communications Department of Immigration & Citizenship would not release information on the whereabouts of individual clients; however, they will have their claims for refugee status determined under the current regional resettlement arrangements.

The minister said he has not received any official report; however, this matter will not be overlooked.

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