Protestors Accuse Australia of Treating Refugees 'Like Animals'

06 November, 2017, 01:52 | Author: Lester Mason
  • Refugees protest on Manus Island with Australian Senator Nick McKim

Some 600 asylum seekers and refugees have barricaded themselves in the Manus Island complex, which officially closed last Tuesday following a Papua New Guinean Supreme Court ruling in April.

Dr Barri Phatarfod from Doctors for Refugees said no electrocardiogram heart monitoring or blood tests were carried out.

Noting that all migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers have a right to a safe and secure environment, a right to an adequate standard of living and to participate in the decision-making process that is affecting their future, Colville said: "Human dignity should be ensured throughout the entire processing of their asylum claims".

However, Mr Andrews said Australia should also accept New Zealand's offer to take the refugees provided 'it doesn't become a backdoor entry via New Zealand to Australia'.

There was no immediate comment from Australia or its representatives in Geneva.

Ardern acknowledged the two Tasman neighbors faced different immigration problems but said the offer remained open.

The Manus island centre, and one on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, have been key parts ofAustralia's disputed "Sovereign Borders" immigration policy, under which it refuses to allow asylum seekers arriving by boat to reach its shores.

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Hollywood star Russell Crowe has slammed Australia for failing to even consider New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 refugees stranded on Manus Island and Nauru.

Colville joined the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in warning of an "unfolding humanitarian emergency" in the centre where asylum seekers began digging wells on Thursday to try to find water as their food supplies dwindled. They are Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Afghans, Iranians, Sri Lankans and other nationalities.

Her Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, however said Canberra preferred to work through an existing refugee swap deal he negotiated with former U.S. President Barack Obama previous year.

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 risky ocean crossings. "They are starving and their bodies are getting weak".

It was extended by his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern when the pair met in Sydney on Sunday.

New Zealand citizens are typically allowed to work and live in Australia, a pathway that Australia fears could be used by the refugees to move to Australia.

Australia entered into an agreement during Barack Obama's administration for about 1,200 of those detained to be resettled in the U.S. "We r dying", he said on Twitter.

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