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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern slams 'unacceptable' Manus Island situation
13 November 2017, 02:16 | Terri Saunders
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Four hundred and twenty-one refugees and asylum seekers holed up in the Manus Island detention centre have been told by Papua New Guinea's government they must leave on Monday or face forcible eviction, as another legal challenge goes to court, and global pressure continues to mount on Australia to intervene.
While some have moved to three transition centers on Manus, 423 remain holed up in the camp despite no water and electricity and limited food supplies, Kurdish-Iranian detainee and journalist Behrouz Boochani told AFP Sunday.
Speaking to media soon after arriving in Manila, Ardern said "all I can do is put New Zealand's case (forward)". I think it's clear that we don't see what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there'. At the weekend she said "harm" was being done, and reiterated New Zealand's offer to take 150 of the men.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she will again discuss the stand-off on Manus Island with Malcolm Turnbull when the two leaders meet at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines this week.
Those now residing inside the closed processing centre have cited safety concerns, claiming they face attack at the hands of locals at new facilities near the main township of Lorengau.
"The safety of both the refugees and government workers plus staff of leading agencies is not to be taken for granted given the tension that is now being expressed by the locals on Manus Island", he said.
"I'll be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have grave concerns over the situation on Manus Island - but also for the refugees on Nauru - and that our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve this situation".
Papua New Guinea has said it will forcibly remove and arrest anyone who is still there on Saturday.
Ms Ardern says however the men ended up on Manus Island, they've now been screened and had their status as genuine refugees confirmed.
Ardern said New Zealand "treated citizens as citizens and residents as residents", so was not prepared to give the refugees a different status, but how Australia viewed refugees that might come to New Zealand was a matter for that country.
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.
But Ardern said she stood by the way she had managed the situation.
As Australia had undertaken preliminary screening of the refugees and held their files, that was likely to be the swiftest way to make an arrangement.
The Manus centre is one of a number of offshore detention sites set up the Australian government as a means of deterring "boat people" from heading to the country. "I'm interested in the fastest route".
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