With NZ offer rejected, Manus refugees doubt USA resettlement prospects

06 November, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Refugees protest on Manus Island with Australian Senator Nick McKim

Mr Turnbull said Australia was generous in accepting refugees and asylum seekers each year but it was the government who would determine who could settle there and not people smugglers.

The UN called on the Australian government to immediately provide protection, food, water and other basic services to 600 people, who remained in the accommodation compound in the country's offshore processing centers in Manus Island.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday her country was willing to take 150 asylum seekers from among those held on Manus island and another camp on the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru.

His comments come just days after food, water, medicine and power supplies have been cut off at a Manus Island detention centre.

Those inside claim they will be attacked by PNG locals if they move to an alternative unfenced accommodation at nearby Lorengau.

Relocating the men on Manus island is designed as a temporary measure, allowing the United States time to complete vetting of asylum seekers.

United Nations rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news conference in Geneva on Friday about the "unfolding humanitarian emergency" in the Manus island centre, where asylum seekers have been reported digging wells to try to find water.

This was in the same year it declared, under former prime minister Kevin Rudd, that no asylum seeker on Manus Island would ever be settled in Australia.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton has repeatedly said no refugees from Manus will be resettled in Australia.


"We should have a better understanding between two prime ministers of Australia and PNG and repatriate these people", Sir Michael told SBS News after releasing a statement earlier.

The center on Manus Island was ruled "unconstitutional" by a court in PNG previous year.

"At the moment hundreds of naked men are lying around me", wrote Boochani. "They are starving and their bodies are getting weak".

Ms Ardern acknowledged on Sunday that the situation was becoming acute but understood Mr Turnbull's position to first pursue the United States deal because it would help substantially more people than New Zealand's small offer could.

Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Adam accuses Australia of abandoning them, and hopes New Zealand will offer them sanctuary.

'We should give consideration to what New Zealand is offering, ' he told Sky News on Sunday.

"I acknowledge that, while New Zealand has not had to contend with these issues on our shores, it's hard to ignore the human face of this situation and nor should it be ignored", Ardern wrote.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten softened Labor's stance on Friday, saying the plan had similarities to the U.S. resettlement deal to take 1,250 people.

Sir Michael called Australia's treatment of refugees "ruthless" and "hypocritical", saying the agreement was that they be resettled elsewhere and not in PNG.

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