Papua New Guinea Police enter former Australia-run asylum centre

| Updated Nov 23, 2017 at 5:31am

 

 

Police in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have entered a former Australian-run detention centre in a bid to get asylum seekers who remain there to leave.

Hundreds of men have refused to leave the Manus Island centre since it was shut down on 31 October, citing fears for their safety.

On Thursday, men inside the camp said that PNG police had given them a one-hour deadline to leave.

One refugee, a journalist, was reportedly arrested.

Australia said it was a PNG operation.

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

Australia shut down the Manus Island centre after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional, urging asylum seekers to move to transit centres elsewhere on the island.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his nation would "not be pressured" into accepting the men, reiterating a long-held policy that such a move would encourage human trafficking.

"They should obey the law and the lawful authorities of Papua New Guinea," Mr. Turnbull said.

The US has agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru under a resettlement deal. However, it may ultimately accept fewer than that.

New Zealand has offered to take 150 refugees from the PNG centre, but Canberra has resisted this proposal - arguing it would effectively be a "back door" to Australia.

SOURCE: BBC News



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