Australia slammed over PNG refugee situation

2:58 pm on 12 February 2016

Australia has been urged to stop shedding responsibility for the resettlement for refugees on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

Detainees on Manus Island

Detainees on Manus Island Photo: AAP

Since 2013 Manus has been hosting asylum seekers who attempted to reach Australia before being intercepted by its naval forces and transferred to Manus for offshore processing.

PNG's government indicated more than half of the over 900 asylum seekers at the Manus centre have now had their refugee status confirmed.

However, refugee advocates and a Manus MP have dismissed the claim that these refugees can now be resettled in PNG.

Human Rights Watch's Brad Adams said there did not appear to be a serious resettlement scheme.

"For two reasons: one, the Australians don't really want there to be much resettlement, at least to countries where people would be happy to go because they think that's going to act as a pull factor. So in a way the Australia wants conditions to be as bad as possible. Second, there aren't a lot of countries in the world who are willing to take this burden away from Australia."

Brad Adams said there should be open access to the Manus processing centre but that instead Australia had made a lot of efforts to discourage people from going there.

He said if Canberra was going to subcontract out the job of processing the asylum seekers, it should be providing world class facilities that showed a humanitarian concern for the asylum seekers.

However, Mr Adams said the conditions at the centre were poor and reports continued to filter out about abuse of the detainees.