Follow Us:

Australia refuses New Zealand offer on refugees

IANS | Sydney |

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday turned down a renewed offer from New Zealand to resettle some refugees from a Papua New Guinea (PNG) detention centre, the media reported.

About 600 men are refusing to leave a de-commissioned Australian centre on Manus Island saying they fear attacks from locals, reports the BBC.

Turnbull said he would not, at this time, take up the offer from his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern.

The two leaders held talks here earlier on Sunday.

Ardern had said she could not ignore “the human face” of what Australia was dealing with.

Under a policy, Australia refuses to take in any asylum seekers trying to reach its territories unofficially by boat. Those who arrive are placed in camps on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and on the Pacific island of Nauru.

New Zealand first said it would take 150 of the asylum seekers in 2013, but the offer has been repeatedly rejected by Australia, the BBC reported.

Australia withdrew from the Manus Island centre on Tuesday, following a PNG court ruling that the centre was unconstitutional.

The men – most of whom have refugee status – have now lost access to running water, electricity and working toilets, and their food supplies are dwindling.

They have begun digging into the ground to find water and set up catchments to collect rain water.