Tony Abbott to Pressure Papua New Guinea to Swiftly Process Manus Island Asylum Seekers

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By Reissa Su | March 21, 2014 7:39 PM EST

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants Papua New Guinea (PNG) to speed up efforts in the processing of asylum seekers detained in Manus Island. He has arrived in Port Moresby for an official state visit. He will be meeting PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill for bilateral talks.


Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) walks beside Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa after taking the official photograph during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in Colombo November 15, 2013. (REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

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On Mr. Abbott's arrival, the first media tour of the Manus Island detention center was also expected to be held. It was the first media tour since the asylum seeker facility opened in November 2012.

PNG has not yet finalized alleged plans of offering permanent resettlement for asylum seekers. The arrangement is supposed to be a key part of Australia's border protection policy.

Abbott's visit to PNGu will be a chance to gently push Papua New Guinea to speed up the processing. He said he is "very pleased"and proud of PNG for assisting Australia in the issue of people smuggling.

He added he will be talking to O'Neill about what more can be done to get the asylum seekers swiftly out of Manus Island and negotiate for other refugees to resettle in PNG. The resettlement idea was agreed with former Prime Minister Rudd about 9 months ago.

After the death of an Iranian asylum seeker Reza Kevati in the Australia-run detention center in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, an investigation has been launched to determine the truth about the violent riots.

Amnesty International said the death of the asylum seeker was a result of the illegal policy of offshore processing of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Both countries should ensure that private contractors and government officials will be cautious in dealing with asylum seekers. The use of force must only be observed as last resort.

The international human rights group said more than 1,200 people have been detained indefinitely in Manus Island under alleged harsh conditions with no word about their future.

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(Photo: / )
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) walks beside Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa after taking the official photograph during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in Colombo November 15, 2013. (REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte)
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