Journalist Exposing Manus Island Atrocities Arrested Amid Police Operation

24 Novembre, 2017, 00:20 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Journalist Exposing Manus Island Atrocities Arrested Amid Police Operation

The situation for hundreds of asylum seekers stranded on a Papua New Guinea island is getting worse every day, a United Nations refugee official says, urging Australia to resume its responsibility for them.

Amnesty said the refugees' safety fears were also "well-founded", adding that some had previously been "attacked and seriously injured" by locals "who have made clear they do not want the men on Manus".

PNG authorities began moving on Australia's moth-balled detention centre on Thursday in an attempt to move the roughly 400 men to alternative - but reportedly not-yet-ready - accomodation on the island province. One refugee, a journalist, was detained and released.

According to the Australian Associated Press, the Governor of Manus Island said locals fear they too will be in danger, so they have armed themselves with knives and other weapons as a precaution.

Canberra sends asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat to detention camps in Manus Island and Nauru under a harsh immigration policy, and blocks them from resettling in Australia.

The male-only camp inside a Manus Island navy base was declared closed on October 31 based on the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court's ruling past year that Australia's policy of housing asylum seekers there was unconstitutional.

The detainees said they were fearful of hostility from locals outside the camp, and said the new centres were not fully operational, with a lack of security, sufficient water or electricity.

Dutton described the refugees as " living in squalor" and said it was "outrageous" that any of them remained in the center.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed a PNG police operation is underway to remove those remaining in the mothballed facility.

The Sudanese refugee told the BBC a large number of police officers had entered the compound.

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He was held for about two hours, verbally abused and his belongings were destroyed.

The outspoken Kurdist journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani was taken away from the camp by police and is now at Lorengau.

"If, as the case appears to be, he has been targeted and arrested because of his profile and his role as a journalist in an attempt to silence him, this is an egregious attack on press freedom that can not be let stand".

"They just attacked here and they are saying that you must move at this time". Deadlines to abandon the camp have passed without authorities taking action.

With each step the resolve of the men who want to remain there seems only to have increased.

Amnesty has long called for the camp on Manus Island to be closed and the refugees brought to safety in Australia.

Boochani wrote earlier on Twitter from inside the camp that "police have started to break the shelters, water tanks and are saying "move, move".

Their intervention follows several street marches in Australian cities condemning Australia's treatment of asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea.

"It's still under construction. we saw for ourselves that they are trying to complete the site as quickly as possible but the fact remains that major work is still in progress", Lam said in a satellite phone call from Manus Island.

The UN has said a majority of the men have refugee status.

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