Australia to repatriate non-refugee asylum seekers

Amos Gonzales
May 18, 2017

Asylum seekers and refugees at Australia's Manus Island Detention Centre have been told they have two weeks to get out, before they start demolition on May 28.

'We want to say to people and to the government, we don't want to live in PNG, ' he told ABC.

"You can not stay at the regional processing center", an unnamed official told detainees, according to a recording obtained by ABC and Guardian Australia. "You need to consider your options", the official said in a recording heard by the BBC.

The human rights group said verified footage and images confirmed bullets were fired directly into the camps during the rampage, contradicting initial claims made by Australian immigration officials and PNG police suggesting soldiers only fired bullets into the air.

It was not an option for refugees to relocate to a transit centre, nor resettle in the Papua New Guinea community since others before them have found it to be too hard or unsafe, said John Falzon from the St Vincent de Paul Society.

"They were told they could go to a third country such as Cambodia - which we know doesn't have necessary support for refugees - or they were told they could take their chances in Papua New Guinea". "They have to go back to their country of origin".

"Manus prison is full of tension", Boochani, wrote in his next tweet. Such a callous indifference to the safety and well-being of refugees puts them at great risk.

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To make the refugee center on the Manus Island as inhospitable as possible for migrants, leaked documents proposed "moving residents into accommodation with less amenity than they now have" and suggested forcibly removing refugees and asylum seekers from the camp into the transit center in a single day, the newspaper reported. But a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton disputed that claim today, saying, "The Minister has said on numerous occasions that the closing date is October", according to The Australian.

Papua New Guinea officials could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

Some asylum seekers have spent years in the camps, with numerous reports of sexual abuse and self-harm among detainees, including children.

'We've been consistent in the message that people will not settle here, ' he told 3AW on Tuesday.

The imminent closure has intensified calls from human rights groups to bring the more than 800 refugees and asylum seekers to Australia.

No detainee would ever be resettled in Australia, he said, reiterating Canberra's policy. In exchange, Australia agreed to resettle refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Other reports by BadHub

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