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Gov. Parkop says it’s unconstitutional to detain refugees

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 10, 2011) – A prominent Papua New Guinea politician says he will go to court to stop Australia from sending asylum seekers to his country.

The government is considering Australia's proposal to establish a processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island in the country's far north.

But the governor of the National Capital District, Powes Parkop, has told the ABC's Lateline program the proposal is unconstitutional.

"The law in Papua New Guinea is very clear that we cannot keep people in detention without charging them," he said.

Governor Parkop, a former human rights lawyer, says he will challenge the proposal in court if it goes ahead.

He says Australia is taking advantage of poor economic conditions on Manus Island by offering development assistance to get an agreement.

Australia currently has an in-principle agreement to send asylum seekers to Malaysia.

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