THE Papua New Guinea army and police have been sent in on Manus Island to clear out hundreds of men still refusing to leave the detention centre.
“Move, move, you have one hour to move,” asylum seekers say authorities screamed at them as they entered.
It comes as footage emerges of PNG authorities storming the mothballed Manus Island detention centre, demanding the hundreds of men inside leave immediately.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed a police operation at the detention centre, saying the men who remain — about 400 of them — will be moved.
Several asylum seekers have taken to Twitter describing high tension in the centre where more than 400 remain.
They said PNG authorities were aggressively telling them to leave.
Asylum seekers have told GetUp!! police used force, including pushing them to the ground.
“The police, special forces, police squad are now in their hundreds, spreading through the prison camp and around the prison,” Iraninan Behrouz Boochani tweeted from inside the camp.
Behrouz Boochami’s Twitter
“Navy soldiers are outside the prison camp. We are on high alert right now. We are under attack,” he said.
“Immigration and police started searching the rooms and are saying ‘Move Move’ you only have an hour to move”.
“Too much stress and tension here in Delta. Some refugees are crying.”
“They are taking the phones and are very aggressive and are taking out some refugees who still remain in the rooms. Something terrible is happening right now, they are taking the refugees out of the rooms.
“They are destroying everything. Shelters, tanks, beds and all of our belongings. They are very aggressive and put our belongings in the rubbish bins. The refugees still are silent are watching them so scared.”
At one stage, he said, he was tweeting from a toilet block as “they destroyed everything”.
Fellow detainee Ezatullah Kakar tweeted the asylum seekers were peaceful, but scared, and “everyone is crying”.
Images and footage distributed by GetUp, show a man passing out as others try to help him by cooling him with water. It’s claimed the man has epilepsy.
“WE WANT PEOPLE TO MOVE”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told a press conference the Federal Government’s position regarding the men on Manus Island had not changed, and again called on them to move to alternative accommodation.
“The people at the Manus regional processing centre, which has been closed by the PNG authorities, should leave and go to the alternative accommodation that has been provided,” he said.
“They think this is some way they can pressure the Australian Government to let them come to Australia. Well, we will not be pressured.”
Mr Dutton told radio station 2GB: “We’re very keen for people to move out of the Manus regional processing centre. I think it’s outrageous that people are still there and they have trashed the facility, they are living in squalor, and the Australian taxpayers have paid about $10 million for a new facility and we want people to move.”
Buses are waiting outside the facility to transport the men to three other centres.
The Australian Federal Police have rejected claims one of their officers was among those who entered the facility, and distanced themselves from the raid. “The AFP has no member within the former Manus Regional Processing Centre and no involvement in today’s actions,” the force posted to Twitter. “The AFP has a liaison officer in Manus Province working in an advisory and mentoring capacity to the RPNGC on policing matters.”
The intervention comes after twelve former Australians of the Year penned an open letter asking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to immediately allow doctors access to asylum seekers in the facility.
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.
The group warns Australia’s reputation on human rights is deteriorating because of the failure to meet the obligations of the UN Refugee Convention.
“We believe it is time to stop the unacceptable and internationally criticised treatment of the refugees on Manus Island, who, though innocent of any crime, have been incarcerated and now abandoned there,” the letter says.
“Please allow the Australian Medical Association to provide medical and preventive care, as they have recently offered, as soon as possible.
“At the same time please find safe haven for the acknowledged genuine refugees without any further delay.”
FEARS FOR SAFETY
The Manus camp was closed after a PNG Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional, and some 600 refugees were told to relocate to three nearby transition centres.
Around 400 of the asylum-seekers have refused to leave, saying they fear for their safety in a local population which opposes their presence on the island.
Canberra sends asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat to detention camps in Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and Nauru, and blocks them from resettling in Australia.
The camps’ conditions have been slammed by human rights groups, which have also campaigned to have them shut amid reports of widespread abuse, self-harm and mental health problems.
Canberra has strongly rejected calls to move the refugees to Australia and instead has tried to resettle them in third countries, including the United States.
Source : news.com
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