Manus Island refugees told they will not be removed by force

Belinda Tasker                                                       Wednesday

Manus Island refugees said they were advised on Saturday by officials their eviction deadline would be extended another 24-hours, by which point they would be forcibly removed from the processing camp which had been without food, water or medical supplies for almost two weeks.

Ms Ardern has stressed the "great need" of the 600 refugee and asylum seekers now barricaded inside the closed Manus Regional Processing Centre during a press conference yesterday.

Al Jazeera's Mereana Hond reports.

They said they had exhausted their food supplies and were relying on rainwater to drink.

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The men - who have refused to move to three transit centers - come from war-torn countries including Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Syria.

"The safety of both the refugees and government workers plus staff of leading agencies is not to be taken for granted given the tension that is now being expressed by the locals on Manus Island", he said.

Papua New Guinea's High Court ruled a year ago that the Manus center, first opened in 2001, was illegal and the camp closed on October 31, when Australian-funded security staff withdrew.

"The current situation at the MRPC and on Manus Island is now totally out of control and fears of a looming "bloodbath" are mounting by the day". They say they are afraid of violent reprisals by the island's residents.

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"It is time for the New Zealand government to do more than offer to take 150 refugees from Manus or Nauru".

Activists have chained themselves to the gates of the Australian high commission in Wellington to highlight the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers on Manus Island.

She said she did not intend to pursue direct talks with Papua New Guinea until she had a firm answer one way or the other from Turnbull.

"The people on Manus need our help, they have committed no crime and shouldn't be locked up for exercising their right to seek asylum", said Emma Cullen, spokesperson for Peace Action Wellington. No matter what label you put on it there is absolute need and there is harm being done, ' she said on Sunday.

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"I see the human face of this and I see the need and the role New Zealand needs to play. I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there is acceptable, that's why the offer is there".

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