Manus Island: PNG police move into detention centre and tell refugees to leave

Refugees report they have been told to hand over phones and go within hours as journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani arrested

A police operation is currently underway on Manus Island, with Papua New Guinean police and immigration officers entering the former detention centre in an effort to move detainees out, more than three weeks into a degenerating humanitarian crisis.

Refugees inside the centre have reported large numbers of officers, including the paramilitary police mobile squad, have entered and given them an hour to leave. The officers wailed at detainees and demanded they hand over their phones.

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Manus Island detention centre

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Manus Island reopened

Julia Gillard’s Labor government reopens detention centre- not utilized since 2004- and the first 19 asylum seekers arrive from Christmas island.

Damning UN report

A UNHCR report determines every asylum seeker on Manus displays signs of nervousnes and depression.

‘No chance of being settled in Australia’

New Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd announces people who seek asylum by boat will never be settled in Australia, with all sent to Manus or Nauru.

Reza Barati dies

Three days of violence leaves 70 detainees seriously injured, with some was shot dead by police, stabbed and with their throats slit. Iranian detainee Reza Barati is murdered after security guards inflict fatal head injuries during the riot.

Hamid Kehazaei dies

Iranian Hamid Kehazaei dies after a delayed medical evacuation to Australia, as a treatable bacterial infection develops into septicaemia.

Mass hunger strike

More than 500 men begin a two-week hunger strike in protest against conditions on the island. Two sew their lips together, three swallow razor blades and collapsing strikers have to be forcibly removed by security.

Healthcare failings uncovered

A Guardian investigation reveals widespread fails in the healthcare services provided by IHMS in detention centres, including Manus Island.

Rape accusation

A PNG woman employed by Transfield alleges she was raped by Australian colleagues inside the centre. The alleged perpetrators are flown out of the country.

Supreme court regulations Manus illegal

Papua New Guinea supreme court regulations the detention centre is illegal and unconstitutional and must be closed.

Manus to close

Australia corroborates Manus detention centre will close but says none of the 854 men still there will be resettled in Australia.

Faysal Ishak Ahmed dies

Sudanese refugee Faysal Ishak Ahmed diesafter six months of suffering numerous blackouts, falls and seizures inside the detention centre.

Services shut down

PNG immigration officials confirm the centre will close on 31 October, and tell detainees to ‘consider their options’. Over the following months basic services are shut down around detainees, to encourage them to leave

$70 m compensation

The Australian government settles a class action, paying $ 70 m compensation to more than 2,000 detainees for illegal detention and mistreatment, but denies any liability.

Hamed Shamshiripour dies

Iranian asylum seeker Hamed Shamshiripour is were dead, having taken his own life. His friends “says hes” pleaded with the Australian government to provide treatment for his mental health problems.

First detainees flown to US

Twenty-five men leave Papua New Guinea for the US under a resettlement bargain between Australia and the US. The total number to be transferred is still uncertain, with the US under no be obliged to take a defined amount.

Sri Lankan refugee dies

A formally recognised refugee dies in Lorengau hospital.

Detainees refuse to leave

A week before it’s due to close, it’s disclosed more than 600 detainees are refusing to leave the centre, citing fears for their safety in Lorengau.

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Refugees described police as intimidating and aggressive as they dismantled structures and hurled away refugees’ belongings. One policeman was considered carrying a large bush knife, which are common on Manus.

A video livestreamed from inside the facility showed men chanting” human rights help us, they want to kill us”, and two men apparently unconscious. Walid Zazai, filming the scene, said it was a medical emergency but they had no assistance.” We don’t know if he had a heart attack because he had previously problems ,” Zazai said of one.

The second unconscious human had epilepsy, he said.

Walid Zazai (@ ZazaiWalid)

https :// t.co/ BEa5yhYZXV

November 22, 2017

Abdul Aziz Adam (@ Aziz5 8825713)

We need urgent help any Dr of nurses we have one refugee in the worst conditions pic.twitter.com/ voXXtSQUYI

November 22, 2017

Iranian journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani was arrested as police and immigration officers swept through the camp, destroying furniture, property and food.

Footage demonstrates Boochani being led away, held by two uniformed policemen, and surrounded by several others. He does not physically resist.

Other refugees said police were specifically looking for him.

Boochani has been the most outspoken proponent for the refugees held on Manus Island, filing reports regularly for the Guardian and other news outlets and giving interviews with media across the world.

Abdul Aziz Adam (@ Aziz5 8825713)

They are looking for me and Behrouz they found him but they are not going to find me. These are police are taking Behrouz. pic.twitter.com/ G01bA46ETC

November 23, 2017

On Thursday morning Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton, corroborated a” police operation” and accused the detainees of junking it.

” I think it’s outrageous that people are still there ,” he told 2GB radio.” They’ve junked the facility, they’re living in squalor .”

” The Australian taxpayers have paid about $10 m for a new facility and we want people to move .”

He likened the situation to building a new house for tenants who refuse to move in.

Dutton’s repeated claims that the alternative accommodation divisions are ready and suitable for detainees have been consistently debunked by observers and published videos and photos of blocked lavatories, bathrooms without water, and buildings still under building. Detainees are systematically claimed they are not safe in the new housing in Lorengau, citing frequent violent attacks and a lack of security.

The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, recurred the messages of his immigration pastor, and said the refugees should leave the centre and go to the alternative accommodation where “several hundred” had already moved.

” They should heed the law and the lawful authorities of Papua New Guinea ,” said Turnbull.” There are alternative facilities that have been made available with food, water, security, and medical services .”

Turnbull also said those inside the centre were hoping to force the Australian government into bringing them all to Australia.” We will not be pressured ,” he said.” Our perimeter security, the integrity of our borders is maintained by my government and we will not outsource our migration policy to people smugglers .”

Some refugees have taken shelter on roofs inside the decommissioned detention centre. Some had been sleeping on top of shipping containers, in expectation the police would move in.

Walid Zazai (@ ZazaiWalid)

They destroying all our property.
They are so angry, and telling us leave our land
First they said move to town, now more angry and telling us leave our land otherwise we will kill u.
Police commissioner Yapu said: It’s an Order from Australian and PNG governments to move u out pic.twitter.com/ uyA7p 4wcsI

November 22, 2017

Abdul Aziz Adam (@ Aziz5 8825713)

The police and immigrations are destroying Australian property pic.twitter.com/ QZVuccYjRw

November 23, 2017

Abdul Aziz Adam (@ Aziz5 8825713)

This photo will show how peaceful we are and how we respond to the immigration and police to the violence and aggressive behaviour pic.twitter.com/ 9lnUQ3yXyO

November 22, 2017

Before his arrest, Boochani reported from inside the centre that immigration and police started searching rooms and telling people:” Move, move ,” and,” You only have an hour to move .”

Boochani said some refugees were constructing barriers to halt police progression, others were hiding.

Behrouz Boochani (@ BehrouzBoochani)

They are taking the phones and are very aggresive and are taking out some refugees who still remain in the rooms. Something terrible is happening right now, they are taking the refugees out of the rooms.

November 22, 2017

He added:” They are destroying everything. Shelters, tanks, beds and all of our belongings. They are very aggressive and put our belongings in the rubbish bins. The refugees still are silent are watching them so scared.

” The refugees are sitting peacefully and immigration and police are asking them to leave the prison camp. The refugees are only listening and altogether silent. They are talking on the microphone and hollering’ move, move ‘.”

The
The belongings of the refugees and asylum seekers in the Manus Island detention centre are messed up by PNG police. Photo: Anonymous

Video from the Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Adam demonstrated immigration officers in yellow shirts surrounded by uniformed police. It showed one PNG police officer issuing instructions over a megaphone to the 380 men barricaded inside.” This place where you are living right now is no longer legal centre for the refugees and non-refugees reside ,” the officer says.” This place will be handed back to the PNG defence force.

” It is their military base, and your staying here … would be seen as illegal and unlawful.

PNG police had originally planned to launch its “Operation Helpim Friends” on Wednesday, but it was cancelled pending a court appeal , now adjourned to 15 December. The police commissioner, Gari Baki, described the operation as “politely” asking the detainees to leave, and said no force-out would be used.

An Australian federal police spokesman denied earlier reports its officers were involved. He said their one liaison policeman there was not links between Thursday’s action.

Lynne Murphy (@ lynnemurphy1)

EMERGENCY #Manus #ManusSOS
Police navy immigration pushing us to move
‘They were so aggressive with us when they come pushing, operating behind us they pushed me on the ground wanted my phone i get up and ran
@ManusAlert pic.twitter.com/ 95 c6rVdiHt

November 22, 2017

Amnesty International said serious injuries were entirely foreseeable, and the PNG government was ” knowingly placing the refugees at risk “. Amnesty’s Pacific researcher, Kate Schuetze said:” There is no justification for this action.

” International statute and standards demand that refugees enjoy international protection. The country where they sought refuge- Australia- has infringed their rights at every turn. PNG has aided and enabled Australia’s policy of cruelty and degradation of the refugees .”

The Australian director of Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, said Australia’s reputation was on the line.” Australia is standing idly by as PNG security force are trashing the compound, confiscating telephones, and aggressively telling refugees and asylum seekers they must leave ,” she said.

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