Published: Fri, November 24, 2017
World | By Camille Rivera

PNG police start evicting refugees from Australia camp: detainees

PNG police start evicting refugees from Australia camp: detainees

Australia Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani was among a "small number" arrested by officers who entered the complex on Thursday. We are on high alert right now. We'll update this story as more information becomes available.

They destroyed everything and our belongings and right now are shouting at us to leave the prison camp'.

Mr Peter Dutton said the Turnbull government was keen for people to move out of the processing centre.

"We did this to try and help facilitate an end to this crisis by highlighting the urgent need for access to water, food and medical care to the men and importance of safe resettlement as a matter of critical priority".

Despite a $AU55 million ($42 million US) deal, Cambodia resettled only a handful of refugees and a top government official admitted the country doesn't have appropriate social programs to support them.

In the last three weeks deadlines have come and gone, water supplies have been repeatedly disrupted, food has dwindled, and parts of the centre have been dismantled.

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After promising to never resettle asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia, the federal government approached 30 countries to create a third country arrangement.

"The AFP has no member within the former Manus Regional Processing Centre and no involvement in today's actions", it said in a statement.

Former Australians of the Year including Rosie Batty, Tim Flannery and Patrick McGorry have penned an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten urging them to address the "human disaster" unfolding on Manus Island.

The group warns Australia's reputation on human rights is deteriorating because of the failure to meet the obligations of the UN Refugee Convention.

The Greens have labbelled the forced removal of refugees and asylum seekers a "dark day" in the nation's history. It's a foul and now- bloodied stain on our national conscience, ' Greens Senator Nick McKim said in Hobart on Thursday. "I am glad that this relocation exercise was done peacefully and without use of force".

'The men have to be evacuated to safety immediately'.

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Dutton described the refugees as " living in squalor" and said it was "outrageous" that any of them remained in the center.

"The arrest of Behrouz Boochani as a so called ring leader of the peaceful protest on Manus Island is deeply misguided", said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International's Pacific Researcher who has just returned from Manus.

"They gave us only one hour and said anything can happen anytime and we will be not responsible", he said. "Now the PNG authorities are putting their lives at risk", she said.

But more than 350 men remain holed up there, because they say the new accommodation doesn't have adequate facilities and they fear for their safety.

Water, power and food supplies ended when the Manus camp officially closed on October 31, based on the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court's ruling past year that Australia's policy of housing asylum seekers there was unconstitutional.

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