PNG police crackdown on Manus refugees continues

PNG police crackdown on Manus refugees continues

PNG police crackdown on Manus refugees continues

Several men at the centre have reported PNG immigration officials and police arriving at the centre on Thursday morning warning the men to vacate.

Authorities have previously made conditions tougher in the camp by emptying drinking water tanks and removing shelters.

Papua New Guinea's Post-Courier newspaper reported on Tuesday that immigration officials would begin evicting the men on Wednesday, the fourth such deadline imposed on the refugees to leave since the camp's closure on October 31.

In 2014, locals attacked the center and killed one refugee, and injured 51.

A human rights campaigner from Australian activist group GetUp Shen Narayanasamy told AFP she had heard there were buses parked outside the camp, although police "have not as yet forcibly dragged anyone" to them.

Earlier Mr Boochani had raised concerns about at least people he said were badly hurt when the camp invasion happened.

"We would expect the number which, up until this morning had been about 370 people within that centre, would drop well below that now", Mr Dutton told Sky News on Thursday.

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

"All the services have been cut off, and I sympathise for that, and there is no power, there is no water".

The refugees are barred from resettling in Australia, but Canberra has struggled to transfer them to third countries, including the United States.

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Amnesty International said there is "no justification for this action" and the police operation is "knowingly placing the refugees at risk".

Unverified video shot by refugees has been released, and they claim PNG authorities have been aggressive.

"It's like the tenant that won't move out of the house when you've built a new house for them to move into", he added.

New Zealand has offered to take some of the refugees from Manus, but the Australian government refused the offer, with Dutton arguing it would encourage smugglers.

The US has agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru under a resettlement deal. So far, 54 have been resettled while another 500 await assessment of their status.

"We should not withhold water from people, nor withhold food; we should not leave seriously ill people to die without medication and treatment", they wrote.

"The Australian taxpayers have paid about $10 million for a new facility and we want people to move".

The letter's signatories include Australians of the Year Rosie Batty, Ita Buttrose, Simone McKeon, Patrick McGorry, Mick Dodson, Tim Flannery, Fiona Wood, Fiona Stanley, Gustav Nossal, Peter Doherty, John Yu and Robert de Castella.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the refugees and other detainees should obey the directions of PNG police.

Mr Dutton again reiterated the men will never be coming to Australia.

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