10 Apr 2014

Australia asked to withdraw Syrians from PNG detention

7:30 pm on 10 April 2014

Refugee advocates in Australia have called on Canberra to return seven Syrian asylum seekers it is holding in its Papua New Guinea camp to Australia.

The Refugee Action Coalition says two of them have been on hunger strike for about 60 days.

The group's spokesperson, Ian Rintoul, says the Syrians have requested to be sent back to Syria but have been told by the International Organisation of Migration that Syria is too dangerous for them to be sent there.

One of the Syrians was briefly sent to Port Moresby because of his asthma and a doctor there advised that he should not be sent back to the camp on Manus Island because of the heat and humidity there.

Mr Rintoul says the Syrians' plight demonstrates the sheer brutality and the arbitrariness of offshore processing.