Refugees given Hobson’s choice as detention centre closed down


Refugees detained on Manus Island have been warned not to revolt as Papua New Guinea authorities revealed plans for the gradual closure and demolition of the Australian detention centre.

Refugees and detainees were told to consider their options, but not to leave it too late to make a decision.

“No one will be resettled in Australia,” an official said.

In an announcement at the centre on Tuesday detainees were told that one of its four compounds known as Foxtrot would be closed on 30 June.

An accommodation block within Foxtrot, N Block, is to be emptied by 28 May.

“Once closed electricity will be turned off and your belongings will be relocated. The area will be locked and no one will be permitted to enter,” a PNG official said.

The official said other compounds would be closed and demolished “in the coming months,” and that “better information about the next phase of Manus Regional Processing Centre demolition will be provided in due course”.

Refugees can move to accommodation in the PNG community or go to the Transit Centre in nearby Lorengau.

Those eligible for resettlement to the United States, will be settled in

Foxtrot’s non-refugees (detainees whose claims for asylum have been rejected) can apply for voluntary repatriation or temporarily move to another compound.

Non refugees have been given a deadline of 31 August to apply for voluntary repatriation with Australian assistance.

Previous detainees to accept repatriation are reported to have been offered $US25,000.

Those who did not apply were warned they would be removed from PNG by the government of Papua New Guinea “without any reintegration assistance”.

“Non refugees have no other options,””the official said, although one such asylum seeker, Azzam el Sheikh, has had his deportation stopped by a PNG court while his refugee determination process is reviewed.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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