Australia turns down NZ offer to take asylum seekers barricaded inside camp

Violet Tucker
November 6, 2017

'New Zealand holds an obligation generally to make sure that we maintain our obligations to the United Nations to take refugees, ' she told reporters on Sunday morning.

"We are concerned by events in the past week at Australia's offshore Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea where refugees and asylum seekers are holding out after the Australian Government's decision to close the facility and pull out its support staff", Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a news conference in Geneva on Friday.

A refugee advocate holds a placard as she participates in a protest in central Sydney, against the treatment of asylum seekers in detention centres located in Nauru and on Manus Island, on October 15. The men have been told to leave, but fear they will be attacked by members of the local community who do not wish for them to settle in PNG. Doesn't change that what Australia has done to these men on Manus is appalling, ' Crowe said. Among them are about 90 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, about 200 men from Iran, and others from Afghanistan, Somalia and Pakistan.

"While [Australia] is not accepting refugees from Manus they have no right to reject New Zealand's offer". "They are starving and their bodies are getting weak".

"However, the government will not shirk its responsibilities and we are prepared to work with relevant authorities to ensure the needs of refugees and non-refugees are provided and they have access to necessary services".

"Australia blocking but has no right to say no", he wrote on Twitter.

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Earlier, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton accused the Greens of wanting "an incident" on Manus Island, after Melbourne MP Adam Bandt labelled Mr Dutton a "terrorist".

Adding to the drama, right-wing former Liberal immigration minister Kevin Andrews called on his own side of politics to consider New Zealand's offer. And the only hope we now have is the New Zealand government. "We need your help".

Ardern said in a statement the offer would be covered by New Zealand's existing refugee quota and applied to offshore refugees on both Manus Island and the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru. The leaders meet in Sydney Sunday.

For four years, Australia has paid Papua New Guinea, its nearest neighbour, and Nauru to house asylum seekers who attempt to reach the Australian coast by boat. Australia says the policy stops migrants risking their lives at sea and protects its maritime borders.

On Manus Island, refugees reacted to the news by holding placards at their daily protest, thanking New Zealand for 'trying again'.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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