Monday, 22 October, 2018

United Nations urges humane approach to Manus Island crisis

Belinda Tasker                                                       Wednesday Belinda Tasker Wednesday
Melinda Barton | 13 November, 2017, 02:16

The asylum seekers have barricaded themselves inside the Manus island center for the past nine days, defying attempts by Australia and Papua New Guinea to close the camp in a standoff the United Nations describes as a "looming humanitarian crisis".

Manus Island refugees said they were advised on Saturday by officials their eviction deadline would be extended another 24-hours, by which point they would be forcibly removed from the processing camp which had been without food, water or medical supplies for almost two weeks.

Footage released this week by the activist group GetUp showed the squalid conditions inside the camp, where hundreds of men have been living without power, water or food supplies.

Al Jazeera's Mereana Hond reports.

She is expected to pursue the matter further during a meeting at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines this week.

Ms Ardern has continued to push New Zealand's offer to accept 150 refugees and asylum seekers from Australia's offshore detention centres since her first face-to-face meeting with her Australian counterpart in Sydney a week ago.

When asked again about the issue at EAS on Sunday night (NZT), Ardern said there was not yet a time set down to talk, but Manus would be the only subject of discussion.

"It makes no sense to me how you can argue that we should be doing the deal with the United States, which I believe we should do, and not be doing a deal with New Zealand", he said.

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

Ms Ardern's tough stance on Australia's treatment of the 400 refugees on Manus Island has made worldwide headlines.

And she has not moved to negotiate directly with PNG while Australia leaves New Zealand's offer "on the table" but does not totally reject it.

"I see the human face of this, I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play".

Ms Ardern said it was faster to organise the logistics of any deal with Australia.

"That would not be our intent to do that - we treat citizens as citizens and residents as residents".

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on Wednesday said "appropriate means" would be used to apprehend those responsible for "disruption".

'It continues to be the easiest option is to go through Australia given the screening that's already occurred of those refugees.

Ardern said she had not had an "official update", but had heard suggestions of that. He said it was not a "straight-forward matter".

It's her strongest statement to date against the unfolding situation.

At the EAS, Ardern will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Premier Li Keqiang of China, EU council president Donald Tusk and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, as well as with the meeting's host, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. I stand by the way that we've managed the situation.

Ardern will return to New Zealand early on Thursday.