New Zealand repeats offer to take Australia camp refugees

In her meeting yesterday with Australian PM Malcom Turnbull, Ms Ardern said she put urgency on New Zealand's offer of taking 150 refugees from Manus Island, but a deal with the United States is stopping that being taken up.

Food, medicine, power and water have been cut from the former detention center.

Australia has recognized that numerous asylum seekers are refugees who can not return to their homelands, but it refuses to resettle anyone who tries to reach the country by boat in a policy it credits with dissuading such unsafe ocean crossings.

Australian authorities want the men moved to a transit centre elsewhere on the island at the start of a process the asylum seekers fear will result in them being resettled in PNG or another developing nation.

United Nations rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news conference in Geneva on Friday about the "unfolding humanitarian emergency" in the Manus island center, where asylum seekers have been reported digging wells to try to find water.

Service providers and contractors have left the island, according to Australian media reports.

Australia has brokered a deal with the United States, which will resettle 1250 refugees, subject to the Trump administration's "extreme vetting".

"And obviously the sooner the better, some of them have been there I think for four years", Colville said.

The alternative accommodation being proposed is not finished or adequate to meet their needs, including security, he said.

Ms Ardern said Australia maintains there are alternate sites where refugees can get electricity and water, "but that for safety reasons some of those refugees have refused to move".

"PNG courts found Australia's Pacific Solution to be unconstitutional", says Sir Michael.

The last food distribution was on Sunday, he said.

A Manus Island refugee during the daily protest in the detention centre, 5-11-17.

"At the moment hundreds of naked men are lying around me", wrote Boochani.

"We have to move them without any use of physical force and their transfers from the centre to the new locations must be done orderly and smoothly and without any force", Manus Provincial Police Commander David Yapu said.

"I acknowledge that, while New Zealand has not had to contend with these issues on our shores, it's hard to ignore the human face of this situation and nor should it be ignored", Ardern wrote.

Australia has struggled to move the refugees to third countries such as Cambodia or PNG.

The government has been facing growing pressure to accept the offer in recent days, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten saying on Friday that Mr Turnbull should honour New Zealand's proposal and Liberal MP Kevin Andrews breaking ranks to join that call on Sunday. "You can't keep political hostages".

"So it is clear that they are playing with us under this fake deal".

  • Rogelio Becker