Australia Responsible for Dire Conditions of Refugees

13 November, 2017, 03:35 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Refugees at Manus Island detention centre staging a protest on November 7

The Prime Minister says the situation is unacceptable, after Australian border officials abandoned hundreds of asylum seekers on the Papua New Guinea island. "I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play", she said.

"I see the human face of this issue".

"I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there is acceptable, that's why the offer is there."
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.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has criticised Australia's handling of the escalating refugee crisis as the situation on Manus Island reaches fever pitch.

"What I found at APEC was there were plenty of opportunities to have one-on-ones", she told media from the Philippines, where the heads of 19 countries are meeting to discuss trade and security.

Those now residing inside the closed processing centre have cited safety concerns, claiming they face attack at the hands of locals at new facilities near the main township of Lorengau.

The camp officially closed on October 31, but the detainees, who were sent to the island as part of Australia's offshore detention program, have refused to relocate to temporary accommodations.

Police in Manus Island said 130 of the men holed up in the decommissioned Australian detention centre had left this week.

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But Foreign Minister Winston Peters held informal talks with PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato in Vietnam, and it's understood more of the refugees were being moved to the U.S. this week.

And she has not moved to negotiate directly with PNG while Australia leaves New Zealand's offer "on the table" but does not totally reject it.

Ms Ardern said it was faster to organise the logistics of any deal with Australia.

"You may become very sick under these conditions of overflowing sewerage, heaps of rubbish, no clean running water, no electricity and no food", Papua New Guinea's Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority said in a two-page notice reviewed by Reuters.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee said on Thursday Australia should bring its migration laws into line with global standards. "We will treat our residents as residents, and our citizens as citizens".

'It continues to be the easiest option is to go through Australia given the screening that's already occurred of those refugees. I stand by the way that we've managed the situation.

Asked about criticism of her approach from National foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee, Ardern said she was happy with how it had been handled.

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