Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Jan 5, 2019 / 04:28 am
The bishops of Papua New Guinea have issued a renewed plea on behalf of the nearly 500 refugees and asylum seekers being held in indefinite detention in deteriorating conditions.
"These people have been away from their families for the sixth Christmas… it was just another night of detention on Manus Island," said Fr. Ambrose Pereira, communication secretary for the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Facing conditions of trauma, overcrowding, and lack of food, he said, "most of them survive thanks to medicines, mostly anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotics," and many face serious side effects from taking the medications long-term without a prescription.
In a statement to Fides News Agency on Thursday, Pereira called the refugees' situation "abuse and neglect," and said it causes the Papua New Guinea bishops "great suffering."