World News

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

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

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.

Now there are more than 400 refugees who have barricaded themselves in the mothballed Manus Island detention centre fearing they'll be attacked by locals if they're moved by Papua New Guinean authorities to alternative accommodation.

"What Australia is doing is inhumane, and that is why we are here locking down the Australian high commission". For the last five years, Australia has maintained a policy of detaining refugees intercepted at sea there and at a similar camp on Nauru, rather than allowing them to reach Australian soil.

New Zealand's prime minister says she has been in constant contact with her trans Tasman counterpart about an offer to resettle 150 refugees.

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

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"It seems like a PR stunt from the New Zealand prime minister to try and focus on one group of refugees which there is a process for, including settlement in the United States", he said.

Ardern, who previously reiterated NZ's offer, criticised Australia's unyielding stance on Sunday. "I think it's clear that we don't see what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there", she said. "No matter what label you put on it there is absolute need and there is harm being done", Ardern said. I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play. The camp officially closed on October 31, but the detainees, who were sent to the island as part of Australia's offshore detention program, have refused to relocate to temporary accommodations.

Newshub has also learned that New Zealand is upset at the Australian media's leaking of official intelligence on how boats have been stopped from coming to New Zealand. "We don't want to go to Australia, let us go to NZ".

But after Australia withdrew its support for the camp, control is going back to the PNG government. There remains a significant Australian Border Force presence on Manus Island, and Australian officials have the ultimate authority on critical issues such as medical transfers.


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