United States deal a lie, choose NZ - Manus refugee

06 November, 2017, 01:53 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after a visit to Borough Market in central London

Iranian Behrouz Boochani, who is living in the camp on Manus Island, said the refugees are starving and are without medical treatment after their camp was declared closed Tuesday based on a Papua New Guinea court ruling.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected a revived refugee resettlement offer from New Zealand, dashing the hopes of hundreds of men who remained barricaded inside the Manus Island processing centre.

He says Australia must provide support for refugees to integrate, and certainly has a large enough diplomatic presence in Port Moresby to provide adequate assistance.

"We thank New Zealand for making an offer, we are not taking it up at this time".

The Australian government has not responded to Colville's comments.

Ardern acknowledged the two Tasman neighbors faced different immigration problems but said the offer remained open.

Those inside claim they will be attacked by PNG locals if they move to an alternative unfenced accommodation at nearby Lorengau. "We will not have our immigration program, our sovereignty, our borders, outsourced to people-smugglers", he said.

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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.

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

Donald Trump called it a dumb deal but Malcolm Turnbull says the USA agreement to take 1250 refugees from Australia is his priority over New Zealand's offer to help 150.

For four years, Australia has paid Papua New Guinea, its nearest neighbor, and Nauru to house asylum seekers who attempt to reach the Australian coast by boat. They include Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Afghans, Iranians, Sri Lankans and other nationalities, and are nearly entirely men. "You can't keep political hostages".

The relocation of the men is designed as a temporary measure, allowing the United States time to complete vetting of asylum seekers as part of a refugee swap deal, agreed on a year ago, under which Australia will accept refugees from Central America.

"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", wrote Ardern.

Australia entered into an agreement during Barack Obama's administration for about 1,200 of those detained to be resettled in the U.S.

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