13 Oct 2016

Manus assault underlines need for resettlement

12:11 pm on 13 October 2016

The Human Rights Law Centre in Australia says the assault of a Somali refugee on Manus Island shows the asylum seekers detained there by Australia can never be resettled on the island.

Residents of the Manus Island processing centre queue for food.

Residents of the Manus Island processing centre queue for food. Photo: Behrouz Boochani

About 900 men have been detained on the Papua New Guinea island for three years where they say violent conflict with local people happens on a daily basis.

The Somali refugee, Masoud Ali Sheiki, suffered a serious head injury on Saturday when he was attacked by locals wielding stones

The Law Centre's, Daniel Webb, said the attack was unprovoked and that Mr Ali Sheiki had been volunteering to help people with disabilities.

"If someone like that, someone who tries, who volunteers with a local organisation, who makes local friends, who learns the language, if someone like that isn't safe, if someone like that can't rebuild their lives on Manus, then no one can."

Mr Webb said the detainees on Manus Island should be brought to safety in Australia.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island. Photo: Supplied

The MP for Manus Island Ronny Knight agreed that the refugees should be resettled elsewhere saying it was their disrespectful behaviour that prompted violent retaliation from local people.

He said some of the refugees are selling home brew and marijuana, and approaching school girls.

"They don't know the customs, they step over food which is a no no," he said.

"They approach school girls and they've been going around with school girls. Three women have had kids now. In our society if a young guy gets a girl pregnant obviously her brother is gonna give him a bashing.

I think it's the same in New Zealand, it's the same in everywhere else. The issue now is that the people have come to a stage where they are starting to say enough is enough and they are starting to retaliate."

Mr Knight said the United Nations needs to step in and move the refugees to countries with the capacity to take them in.

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