Manus Island activists locked to gates of Australian high commission in Wellington

14 November, 2017, 13:19 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Asylum seekers sit on the ground as they refuse to leave the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says refugees on Manus Island will be her sole focus when she meets with Malcolm Turnbull again this week.

Some 400 refugees rebuffed continued efforts by Papua New Guinea authorities to convince them to move from a shuttered Australian detention camp Tuesday as the tense standoff over their future drags into a third week.

Mr Turnbull opted not to take up the offer, but did not rule out accepting the deal at a later stage.

Turnbull this month rejected the refugee resettlement offer from his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, preferring instead to work through an existing refugee swap deal he negotiated with former US President Barack Obama previous year. No matter what label you put on it there is absolute need and there is harm being done, ' she said on Sunday.

Ms Ardern said the unfolding standoff on Manus Island between refugees and Papua New Guinea's immigration officials was not acceptable. I'm interested in the fastest route, ' she said.

"People will die when that happens".

Police at the protest at the Australian High Commission.

"He'll know the offer was genuine, it was genuine when it was first made by another Government and another leader, and it remains genuine now".

In a statement on Sunday, Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas urged refugees and asylum seekers still in the processing centre they must leave by Monday "so that they can have access to basic necessities such as food, water, medical care and security and that the work on decommissioning of the facility can be completed for the PNG Defence Force to take complete control of their land and property".

Newshub has been briefed on the deal and can reveal that Ms Ardern is happy for Australia to place an order on any refugees that they can never travel there.

Activists have chained themselves to the gates of the Australian high commission in Wellington to highlight the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers on Manus Island.

Monday's protest in Wellington was co-ordinated by Peace Action Wellington.

Their intention was to make staff at Australia's High Commission acknowledge and question their government's actions, spokeswoman Emma Cullen said.

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