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PNG warns it will use force to empty Australia refugee camp

10 November 2017, 01:13 | Darnell Patrick

PNG warns it will use force to empty Australia refugee camp

PNG warns it will use force to empty Australia refugee camp

Australia held asylum seekers on PNG's Manus Island until last week when it closed a detention centre.

An official says more than 500 asylum seekers remain in a decommissioned Australian immigration camp in Papua New Guinea after a court ruled authorities no longer have to supply power, food and water.

But the men say it is not safe for them to leave the facility.

That facility was closed more than a week ago after the PNG Supreme Court ruled past year it was unconstitutional, and authorities have warned they will move in using force if necessary if those remaining do not leave by the weekend.

Mr Albanese said the centre was supposed to be a processing centre, but instead became a place of indefinite detention.

Under a controversial policy, Australia has detained asylum seekers who arrive by boat in detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru, a small Pacific nation.

The letter also referred to the PNG Supreme Court's November 7 decision to reject an application by refugee Behrouz Boochani which sought an interim injunction to stop the relocation of the men, saying, "You have no legal basis to remain in this compound".

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Support will be provided for those willing to settle in PNG while non-refugees can voluntarily return home or face involuntary removal because they have no lawful right to stay in PNG.

"The refugees are watching them fearfully.(they) are extremely scared by immigration threat but still saying we will not leave this prison camp for another prison camp", he said. However, it has been widely criticized by the United Nations and human rights advocates.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said in a statement on Wednesday the centre had fulfilled its goal to process asylum claims and it was time for the men to move onto new accommodation facilities.

Canberra says its tough immigration policy against boat people dissuades would-be migrants from attempting the risky crossing to Australia and has therefore prevented hundreds of deaths at sea.

Amnesty International warned that "any use of force in this highly charged environment is likely to lead to serious injury or loss of life", calling for aid to be allowed into the camp.

"They can not, having created the situation, now compound it by sending in security forces to force the refugees to move".



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