Thursday, 23 November, 2017

PNG ups pressure on refugees to leave Australian camp

Equality Campaign Australia UN urges humane approach to Manus Island crisis
Dexter Carr | 14 November, 2017, 00:29

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern * a href="https://newswire.storyful.com/storylines/*/stories/186217" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" *on November 5 repeated her government's offer to resettle 150 of the asylum-seekers, but Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia would not be taking it up "at this time".

The camp, on a disused army base on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was declared closed on 31 October after a Supreme Court ruling that it was unconstitutional for Australia to house asylum seekers there.

The group, Peace Action Wellington, says it plans to stop workers from exiting to raise awareness of what they say is an abuse of human rights for the 600 refugees still at the decommissioned Manus Island.

Four hundred and twenty-one refugees and asylum seekers holed up in the Manus Island detention centre have been told by Papua New Guinea's government they must leave on Monday or face forcible eviction, as another legal challenge goes to court, and worldwide pressure continues to mount on Australia to intervene.

Sources say about 450 men have barricaded themselves into the center and have been living without food, water, and power for over 13 days.

"We need an urgent solution to it, whether legal or political".

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She said New Zealand has the capacity to help the refugees and should be talking with the PNG government directly to solve "this humanitarian crisis".

The Catholic Bishop Conference is calling on the PNG and Australian Government to assist the 492 refugees and asylum seekers in Manus with basic needs.

Ardern again reiterated New Zealand's desire to resettle 150 of the men now held in Australia's offshore detention centres despite Malcolm Turnbull turning down her offer a week prior.

She said she did not intend to pursue direct talks with Papua New Guinea until she had a firm answer one way or the other from Turnbull. "I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there", she said.

As Australia had undertaken preliminary screening of the refugees and held their files, that was likely to be the swiftest way to make an arrangement. I'm interested in the fastest route, ' she said.

"I stand by the way we've managed this situation: every step of the way has been a dialogue with Australia about the best way to find resolution".

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