Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Protests in NZ as Ardern talks Manus

Australia Refugees The 600 men holed up at the Manus detention centre are still refusing to move to new facilities
Howard Terry | 15 November, 2017, 00:53

One of Malcolm Turnbull's Ministers Matt Canavan has described it as a publicity stunt by Jacinda Ardern.

Ten days ago Australia officially withdrew support for the prison camp it has maintained on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island since 2012. Accusations have also emerged from refugees and their advocates that the West Lorengau site where the Australian Government is forcing detainees to relocate to is inadequate for human habitation.

Hundreds of migrants who attempted to reach Australia defied a Monday deadline to leave a decommissioned immigration camp on Papua New Guinea, where many hold out hope of starting new lives in the United States, police said.

New Zealand has had on the table for several years an offer to take 150 refugees from Australian-run offshore detention centres each year. "We made the offer because we saw a great need", she said. "No matter what label you put on it there is absolute need and there is harm being done", Ardern said.

"We see that we have a role to play here, we're very eager to play that role and as I say I'll be having another conversation with the Prime Minister in the Philippines". "I think it's clear that we don't see what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there".

"It continues to be the easiest option is to go through Australia given the screening that's already occurred of those refugees".

"I expect that people should come up with a roundtable conference and come up with a solution and start finding ways forward to move the asylum issue", he said.

Now there are more than 400 refugees who have barricaded themselves in the mothballed Manus Island detention centre fearing they'll be attacked by locals if they're moved by Papua New Guinean authorities to alternative accommodation. It says boat arrivals will never enter Australia, even if they are found to be refugees, as this would encourage people smugglers in Asia.

Rejecting United Nations calls to restore utilities to the camp, Papua New Guinea this week said it would "apprehend" those responsible for the stand-off when it forcibly evicted the men.

Ms Ardern hasn't revealed the content of the talks with Mr Turnbull, but said the fact they were continuing proved the urgency of the situation.

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