28 Apr 2014

Canberra backs down on PNG asylum safety guarantee

3:43 pm on 28 April 2014

Australia's Immigration Minister has backed away from earlier comments where he guaranteed the safety of asylum seekers inside his country's detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

After last February's violence that injured more than 60 asylum seekers and killed an Iranian man, Reza Berati, Mr Morrison said he could guarantee the safety of asylum seekers who remained in the centre and who acted cooperatively with those who were trying to provide them with support and accommodation.

It was later revealed that the attacks occurred within the centre at the hands of some of the camp's security guards.

But in an interview with the ABC about the safety of Manus detainees, Mr Morrison says it's difficult to ensure safety at all times.

He says that while it's his aspiration to guarantee the safety of asylum seekers, it's difficult to do so in every instance.