28 Oct 2017

Fijians sent to provide security on Manus

2:21 pm on 28 October 2017

Forty-two Fijians have been employed to provide security services on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

The FBC reports the Fijians were farewelled yesterday by Fiji's employment minister Jone Usamate.

Australia's immigration detention centre on Manus is due to close at the end of the month but 600 refugees and asylum seekers at the centre are refusing to move to the island's Lorengau town for fear of attacks by locals.

An image from the 75th day of protest at the Manus detention centre.

An image from recent protests at the Manus detention centre Photo: supplied

Mr Usamate told workers going to Manus that they would be representing Fiji in a situation understood as not being easy.

But he said given their experience in the Middle East they should be able to cope with the situation on Manus.

The security workers will be paid approximately $US3000 each month.

Amnesty International said authorities in Australia and PNG must ensure that a standoff with refugees does not descend into violence.

The PNG police have extra manpower on standby to assist with the relocation, but Amnesty said authorities must ensure that police refrain from using excessive force.

It said the closure of the detention centre does not mean the end of the ordeal for the refugees who've been held for four years without trial.

The NGO said the new buildings are too small to house all the refugees, and are incomplete making them vulnerable to incursions by angry locals.

"The closure of the current centre is not a solution if people are simply being moved from one abusive location to another. Reports that the new facilities are unfinished and leave refugees at risk of violence are extremely concerning. Authorities must ensure that the safety and well-being of refugees is given priority," said Audrey Gaughran.