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Australia and Papua New Guinea sign updated memorandum of understanding



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Chris Bowen MP Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Australia and Papua New Guinea sign updated memorandum of understanding Saturday, 08 September 2012

Joint media release with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Chris Bowen MP - Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen today announced that Australia and Papua New Guinea have entered into a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to regional processing arrangements on Manus Island.

PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and Minister for Trade and Competitiveness Craig Emerson signed the MOU today, which builds upon the previous agreement of 19 August 2011 and paves the way for processing on Manus Island, subject to the designation of PNG as a regional processing country under Australian law.

This is a significant step towards establishing a regional processing centre on Manus Island, as recommended by the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.

The MOU contains new elements, including assurances relating to key elements of the Refugee Convention, as outlined in recent changes to the Migration Act.

The agreement underlines the government's resolve to work with regional partners to break the people smuggling trade and prevent the tragic loss of life at sea on dangerous boat journeys.

The government is committed to implementing the Expert Panel's recommendations. There will be no advantage for people risking their lives on people smuggling boats.

The MOU demonstrates the positive and long-standing relationship of our two countries on migration issues, and recognises the need for cooperative measures to tackle irregular migration in the region.

It also provides for ongoing discussions with PNG on the specific operational details of the regional processing centre.

We are committed to working with PNG to operationalise the regional processing centre at the earliest opportunity.

The MOU also reaffirms both countries' commitment to the Refugee Convention, with people to be treated with dignity and respect in line with human rights standards. See: MOU between PNG and Australia on Regional Processing (24KB PDF file)