NZ offers to take 150 refugees from Manus Island
November 02 2017 10:23 AM
Refugees gesturing inside the Manus detention camp in Papua New Guinea
Refugees gesturing inside the Manus detention camp in Papua New Guinea


New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated Thursday her predecessor's offer to take 150 refugees from the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

 ‘I think anyone would look at a situation like that and see the human face,’ she told journalists in Christchurch.

She said she would raise the subject with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during her first visit to the Pacific country's neighbour on Sunday.

In 2013, the New Zealand government under then prime minister John Key agreed that up to 150 places would be allocated annually from within the country's refugee quota programme to resettle refugees who have been subjected to Australia's offshore processing system.

To date, the 150 places have not been utilized by Australia and the places have been reallocated to refugees referred by the United Nations' refugee agency, a spokesperson for the prime minister told dpa.

The UN on Thursday called on Australia to prevent a humanitarian emergency from unfolding on Manus, where more than 600 refugees are refusing to leave the detention centre after it was shut down on Tuesday when the PNG Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

The refugees have been asked to relocate to temporary facilities - some of which are not yet ready - in the island's main town but have refused to move due to fears of being attacked by locals.

Meanwhile, Australia's Acting Prime Minister Julie Bishop said it made ‘no sense’ for detainees to remain in the centre.

However she has also failed to guarantee their safety if they leave the camp.

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