Asylum seekers should leave Manus Island detention centre – Australian PM

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 04:53 GMT, Nov 23, 2017 |

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday (November 23) that asylum seekers residing at the Manus Island detention camp in Papua New Guinea should leave the centre and go to alternative accommodation on the island.

Police entered an officially-shuttered Australian-run detention camp in Papua New Guinea on Thursday and ordered some 380 asylum seekers occupying it to leave as they carried away food and water the men had stockpiled, three of the men told Reuters. The men have barricaded themselves in the Manus Island centre for more than 22 days, defying attempts by Australia and PNG to close the facility

Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton, told Sydney radio that the aim of the police operation was to move the men to a transit centre elsewhere on the island. The asylum seekers say they fear for their safety if moved to the transit centre, and risk being resettled in PNG or another developing nation permanently.

The men in the camp, most of whom are from Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Syria, are held under Australia’s strict “sovereign borders” immigration policy, under which Australia refuses to allow asylum seekers arriving by boat to reach its shores.

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