New Zealand repeats offer to take Australia camp refugees

New Zealand repeats offer to take Australia camp refugees

Donald Trump called it a dumb deal but Malcolm Turnbull says the USA agreement to take 1250 refugees from Australia is his priority over New Zealand's offer to help 150.

"Australia is party to the United Nations" Convention on Refugees and opted for a "solution' that has been unsatisfactory to Manus people, PNG and the refugees of Manus Detention Centre".

About 600 men have barricaded themselves inside the camp Manus island in Papua New Guinea, defying efforts by Australia and Papua New Guinea to shut it down.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will not accept an offer from New Zealand to resettle asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru 'at this time.'


Relocating the men on Manus Island is designed as a temporary measure. Among them are about 90 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, about 200 men from Iran, and others from Afghanistan, Somalia and Pakistan.

The government is reluctant to resettle refugees in New Zealand because it believes that will encourage asylum seekers to again attempt to reach Australia by boat.

"But also we have urged Australia and PNG to de-escalate the situation, resume basic services - water, electricity, medical services as well".

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"We repeat our overall concerns about Australian offshore processing centres which are unsustainable, inhumane and contradictory to its human rights obligations", Colville said.

The last food distribution was on Sunday, he said.

Iranian Behrouz Boochani, who is living in the camp on Manus Island, described the conditions in a series of tweets earlier this week, saying the refugees had resorted to digging holes to try to find water to drink. "They are starving and their bodies are getting weak".

"That is an offer that does remain on the table, so whilst it has not been taken up immediately, the prime minister thanked New Zealand for the offer, acknowledged it and it is something that still remains in place", she said.

Speaking at a joint press conference after meeting NZ PM Jacinda Ardern on Sunday, Mr Turnbull left the door open to accepting her offer to resettle 150 refugees in the future, but only after Australia's arrangement with the Trump administration has concluded.

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 blocking but has no right to say no", he wrote on Twitter. The agreement had envisaged resettling up to 1,250 refugees from Manus and Nauru to America, but the vetting process has been slow.

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