“The current situation of the almost 500 refugees on Manus island – which hosts the asylum seekers rejected by Australia – causes us great suffering,” according to Salesian Fr. Ambrose Pereira, Secretary for Social Communications at the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. His comments were reported January 3, 2018, by Fides News Agency.
“The refugees were brought back to Manus Island for the duration of the APEC summit,” Fr. Pereira said. “They were in different places in Port Moresby, most of them were here to receive medical treatment. And while Christmas was being celebrated here, it was just another night of detention on Manus Island. There were at least three cases of attempted suicide.
“These people have been away from their families for the sixth Christmas and most of them survive thanks to medicines, mostly anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotics, with serious consequences of taking such drugs for a long time and without a prescription.
“This is not the way to treat human beings: it is about abuse and neglect. The obvious answer to almost all health problems is to give them freedom and to reduce the damage caused by stress, trauma, overcrowding and malnutrition during their detention, as highlighted by numerous reports. Refugees are waiting for the day they are released, and we hope that 2019 will bring good news for them”, he concludes.