Australia Responsible for Dire Conditions of Refugees

15 November, 2017, 02:06 | Author: Diane Mills
  • 'Unacceptable': New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern slams Australia's handling of Manus Island crisis after Malcolm Turnbull rejected her offer to take in refugees

Peace activists from Peace Action Wellington have today locked themselves to the gates of the Australian High Commission preventing anyone from leaving, to draw attention to the situation of the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

"This is a strong relationship that we have with Australia, it's an important relationship but as I say, when there is information to update you on then I will", she said.

She said New Zealand has the capacity to help the refugees and should be talking with the PNG government directly to solve "this humanitarian crisis".

The camp, on a disused army base on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was declared closed on 31 October after a Supreme Court ruling that it was unconstitutional for Australia to house asylum seekers there. Everyone has the right to seek asylum and the Australian government is not above the law.

As the standoff on the island continues, the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has condemned Australia's handling of the situation as "unacceptable".

An Australian minister on Friday, Nov. 10 predicted a conflict between Papua New Guinea police and hundreds of asylum seekers who have refused to leave a decommissioned immigration camp where many hold out hope of resettling in the United States. "If these people are taken in by New Zealand it will effectively be a back door into Australia", he said in a reference to the 1000 asylum seekers who died while travelling by boat to Australia between 2007 and 2013. "We made the offer because we saw a great need", she said.

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Government frontbencher Matt Canavan criticised the genuineness of the offer.

'I see the human face of this and I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play. "I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there is acceptable, that's why the offer is there".

New Zealand won't pursue a deal directly with Papua New Guinea, despite Foreign Minister Winston Peters spotted holding talks with PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Having already made the offer to Turnbull in person, Ardern said she would again raise the issue with him when they meet this week in the Philippines - on the sidelines of the Asean summit.

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm warned for Australia to take it up would be "a fatal mistake, literally a fatal mistake".

"Australia does not have the right to reject New Zealand's offer", Boochani said.

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