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Concern for plight of gay refugees

Tuesday 27 October 2015 | Published in Regional


LOFRENGAU – With the prospect of refugees being resettled, concerns have been raised over the welfare of gay refugees in Papua New Guinea, which is yet to legalise homosexuality.

Since March last year, there have been 14 cases of sexual assault against gay men detained on Manus Island.

None have led to prosecutions, Senate estimates heard on Monday.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the situation in Papua New Guinea was unacceptable for gay refugees.

Senator Hanson-Young told the ABC that such refugees would not be safe.

“I’m extremely concerned that those who are gay – who have fled countries where they were persecuted, tortured, intimidated because of their sexuality – are now going to be expected to live a different life in Papua New Guinea,” she said.

“They are not going to be safe.”

Dutton said Australia had its own policy for asylum seekers in same-sex relations, but people detained on Manus Island were “an issue for the Papua New Guinea government.”

“We’re sensitive to situations, particularly where there may be discrimination against individuals, and we’re able to provide support to people in that circumstance,” he said.

“But the management of the Manus regional processing centre is an issue for the Papua New Guinea government.”

The Senate committee also heard of 213 cases of physical assault and almost 800 incidents of abusive behaviour from within the centre over the same period. - ABC