Jacinda Ardern steps up pressure on Malcolm Turnbull over refugee offer

13 November, 2017, 02:19 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Refugees at Manus Island detention centre staging a protest on November 7

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has blasted Australia's handling of the refugee crisis on Manus Island as unacceptable as she seeks another meeting with Malcolm Turnbull on the issue.

The approximately 420 asylum seekers and refugees choosing to remain at the now-closed Manus Island processing centre have been without food, water or medical supplies for nearly two weeks.

"We see that we have a role to play here, we're very eager to play that role and as I say I'll be having another conversation with the Prime Minister in the Philippines".

"It was a very unpleasant, unnecessary, risky situation that those people put everybody in", she said.

Speaking to media soon after arriving in Manila, Ardern said "all I can do is put New Zealand's case (forward)". "I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there is acceptable, that's why the offer is there".

Last week Ms Ardern offered for New Zealand to accept 150 refugee and asylum seekers now detained in a number of Australia's offshore centres.

Those now residing inside the closed processing centre have cited safety concerns, claiming they face attack at the hands of locals at new facilities near the main township of Lorengau.

Ardern said no precise time had been set for the meeting, though there were plenty of opportunities to talk at such gatherings.

Police in Manus Island said 130 of the men holed up in the decommissioned Australian detention centre had left this week.

"I will be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have grave concerns over the situation on Manus Island but also for the refugees on Nauru, and that our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve this situation".

Responding to reports PNG authorities were preparing to remove refugees and asylum seekers from the now-closed facility on Thursday, Jacinda Ardern said she wanted to raise the issue with Mr Turnbull at APEC.

The situation inside the detention centre is a "humanitarian emergency", the UN's refugee agency has said, for which Australia holds responsibility.

Noonan said, "In the spirit of armistice day, the New Zealand and Australian governments needs to call off their war on refugees. We will treat our residents as residents, and our citizens as citizens".

'It continues to be the easiest option is to go through Australia given the screening that's already occurred of those refugees.

She said she did not intend to pursue direct talks with Papua New Guinea until she had a firm answer one way or the other from Turnbull.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee said on Thursday Australia should bring its migration laws into line with worldwide standards. I stand by the way that we've managed the situation.

Ardern said she had not had an "official update", but had heard suggestions of that.



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