Menu
News

Refugees refuse to leave Manus Island camp

Manus Island asylum seekers have held large protests demanding to be able to stay at the regional processing centre.
Manus Island asylum seekers have held large protests demanding to be able to stay at the regional processing centre.

MANUS Island detainees are expected to launch legal action over the closure of Australia's immigration detention centre.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers are refusing to leave the camp at the Lombrum Navy Base in Papua New Guinea as food, water and power are cut off on Tuesday.

Detainees fear they won't be safe at three other facilities they are meant to relocate to in and around the island's main town of Lorengau.

Refugees securing a recently damaged perimeter fence at the Manus Island immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea on Monday, October 30. Picture: Refugee Action Coalition/AAP
Refugees securing a recently damaged perimeter fence at the Manus Island immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea on Monday, October 30. Picture: Refugee Action Coalition/AAP

The group believes their constitutionally protected human rights are being breached by the removal of basic services, including water and electricity.

Overnight, detainees secured damaged perimeter fencing around the compound as they prepared to barricade themselves inside.

Workers at Manus Island Detention Centre prepare for closure.
Workers at Manus Island Detention Centre prepare for closure.

As they did, PNG immigration officials plastered notices up around the centre urging detainees to leave before utilities were cut off and the site was returned to PNG defence forces.

"Move to alternative accommodation now," the notice read.

"Anyone choosing to remain here will be liable for removal from an active PNG military base." Papua New Guinea's government on Monday warned Australia it will take no responsibility for "non-refugees" and people who refuse to settle in PNG, saying they are the obligation of the Australian government.

Manus Island Detention Centre.
Manus Island Detention Centre.

PNG lawyer Ben Lomai is expected to lodge a legal application on Tuesday morning, The Guardian reports.

An Australian lawyer assisting with the case, Greg Barns, says the application "seeks to ensure that those asylum seekers who remain on the island don't have those constitutional rights breached".

Extra PNG police have been deployed to the island after many locals threatened to use violence to stop the asylum seekers relocating.

Two of the three centres earmarked for the detainees are still not fenced or guarded.

 

Refugees say they don’t feel safe outside the centre.
Refugees say they don’t feel safe outside the centre.

PNG is also demanding Australia clarify its plans for people found not to be refugees and refugees who are refusing to settle on Manus Island. PNG Immigration Minister Petrus Thomas says Australia alone is responsible for finding third-country resettlement options for refugees and returning non- refugees to their home countries.

Acting Prime Minister Julie Bishop insists Australia is working to find solutions.

The Lombrum centre was forced to close after the PNG Supreme Court ruled in April 2016 that Australia's detention of refugees and asylum seekers there was illegal and unconstitutional.

Refugees and asylum seekers during a protest at the Manus Island immigration detention centre. Picture: Human Rights Watch/AAP
Refugees and asylum seekers during a protest at the Manus Island immigration detention centre. Picture: Human Rights Watch/AAP

Topics:  manus island refugees



This weekend's Northern Rivers markets list

TRADITIONAL: The Lismore Carboot Market has been operating for three decades.

Where to get fresh coffee and great local produce from

TALES: No public transport or decent roads

The faded headstone of William and Mary Alexander at Alphadale cemetery

IN THE Alphadale cemetery is William Alexander's faded headstone

Pools stay closed as the wait for parts continues

PROGRESS: Drone footage shot on Wednesday shows the latest work on the Alstonville Pool upgrade.

Controversial power upgrade making waves

Local Partners