THE MEMBER of parliament for Manus Ronny Knight has called on his people to think carefully about the negative aspects of marrying refugees who are currently detained in the province.
“When they are taken away or move away, what will happen to the wives and children?” Knight asked.
And he warned that PNG immigration has to be aware that they and their Australian counterparts “are exposed to anyone taking a lawsuit on them over their mishandling of the whole thing.
“My major concern is regional processing centre staff marrying asylum seekers. It clearly is a mess that immigration has to fix immediately.
“I call on both governments and the UN high commissioner for refugees, who is responsible for these people, to immediately find a place and remove them from Manus before local people begin retaliating,” Knight said.
He said Lorengau is now over-run by refugees and their impact is negative to people’s customs and ideals.
“Australia doesn't want them. They cannot survive in PNG. UNHCR must step in and assert control immediately.”
Human rights lawyer Ben Lomai represents 731 asylum seekers, who have signed a new Supreme Court application that will be filed this Friday. This application is asking the court for their release to Australia.
He said everyone is entitled to marry under the current law, including customary law.
“I don't think it is wrong for the asylum seekers to marry local girls or vice versa,” he said.
“There must be consent and recognition to legally solemnise marriage. And it must be done before a marriage celebrant, such as a priest, pastor or civil registry.”