PNG ups pressure on refugees to leave Australian camp

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Activists chain themselves to the gates of the Australian high commission in Wellington to protest against the treatment of Manus Island refugees and asylum-seekers.

PPC Manus, Chief Inspection David Yapu said this afternoon, that 90 more left the Centre today.

Thirteen days have passed since the Manus centre was officially closed and food, power and water supplies were cut off.

"You may become very sick under these conditions of overflowing sewerage, heaps of rubbish, no clean running water, no electricity and no food", Papua New Guinea's Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority said in a two-page notice reviewed by Reuters.

He said giving asylum seekers New Zealand residence could give them a back-door into Australia.

Kurdish journalist and Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani said police and immigration authorities had destroyed shelters built to provide shade and cover from the tropical sun and rain in a post on Twitter. Several of the men told Reuters that almost 100 of them had fallen sick.

"The people on Manus need our help, they have committed no crime and shouldn't be locked up for exercising their right to seek asylum", said Emma Cullen, spokesperson for Peace Action Wellington.

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"Using force against ppl who've been suffering almost 5yrs is no solution".

Those protesting are demanding safe relocation in a third country. The government argue that it deters asylum seekers from attempting a perilous sea voyage to Australia. It says boat arrivals will never enter Australia, even if they are found to be refugees, as this would encourage people smugglers in Asia.

"What Australia is doing is inhumane and that is why we are here locking down the Australian High Commission".

Thursday's PNG government notice said the camp will soon revert to the control of the nation's military and anyone there unlawfully will be liable for arrest.

Speaking at the APEC Summit in Vietnam on Saturday local time, the Prime Minister of New Zealand said the unfolding stand-off between refugees and PNG immigration officials was unacceptable.

Ms Ardern has stressed the "great need" of the 600 refugee and asylum seekers now barricaded inside the closed Manus Regional Processing Centre during a press conference yesterday.

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