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June 16, 2021
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Refugees facing difficulty after center closure

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As the Australian Government tried to shrug off its responsibilities on Manus Island, Greens Senator, Nick McKim, has fired a broadside saying Australia had disrespected Papua New Guinea and its people.

The statement came after the Senator attended a protest led by locals in Manus who called on the Australian Government to resolve the issue.

“The refugees are the responsibility of the Australian Government. I am calling on the Australian Government to quickly evacuate the men from Manus.

“This is a humanitarian emergency.”

McKim saw the turbulence unfold this week on Manus as Australia announced the closure of the refugee center.

This morning, the senator was reportedly threatened with arrest when PNG immigration officials gave him five minutes to leave the refugee compound. An ABC crew was verbally abused by security guards the previous day.

About 700 men remain in the camp. They have been protesting over the camp’s closure and are demanding that they be resettled in Australia. As of yesterday, power to the center was cut. The water pipes were cut and the tanks drained.

Iranian journalist, Behrouz Boochani, who has been active on Twitter said several refugees have become physically sick and others were hungry after meals were stopped.

“PNG Immigration told refugees to go to the East Lorengau Center. But we don’t feel safe. It is the responsibility of the Australian Government. Local people don’t agree with us staying here.”

“I cannot say that I am ok. I couldn’t sleep well and I am not good, physically.”

ABC producer, Bethanie Harriman who went into the camp a day ago reported that garbage bins had been washed out so the refugees can collect drinking water.

“Everyone has left. The hospital is closed. The men who were receiving medication for mental illnesses don’t have access to medicine anymore.”

Speaking to Reporters on Tuesday, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said PNG had made arrangements for food, accommodation and medical services – a statement that has angered both locals members of the PNG Government.

Former Manus MP, Ronny Knight, who has staunchly opposed the establishment of the center, said there is no clear exit plan by Australia.

“The East Lorengau center isn’t completed. If PNG is talking about integration, it won’t work.”

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