Manus refugees tell Australia to accept NZ offer

8:17 pm on 20 November 2017

Refugees occupying the former detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island have called on Australia to accept New Zealand's resettlement offer.

The 111th daily protest at the detention centre, 19-11-17.

The 111th daily protest at the detention centre, 19-11-17. Photo: supplied

About 400 men are refusing to leave the centre after it was closed at the end of October, when food, water and electricity were cut.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand could take 150 refugees from Australian offshore detention centres on Manus and Nauru, but Australia's government said its priority was a resettlement deal with America.

The Kurdish journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani said after years of detention without charge, Manus refugees wanted freedom.

"Please let us to go to New Zealand. We are tired from being in this prison for more than four years. It is time that the government make a solution and send us to New Zealand and accept the New Zealand offer," said Mr Boochani.

Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Adam said the world was watching Australia deprive its detainees of food and water.

"Is this the government that claimed it won a seat on the [UN] Human Rights Council? Is this how you treat people? ... Now is the time to think about the world who are watching you and they are condemning your action," he said.

The Kurdish refugee Benham Satah said the refugees would not leave the centre until given freedom in a safe country.

"All these people who are here, they are protesting peacefully to reach freedom ... If Australian government don't want us in Australia OK, we don't want to go there as well. Just let us go to safe country. Let us go to New Zealand, because we are not going to leave this centre unless you give us freedom," said Mr Satah.

Meanwhile, the road to two of the new facilities being built to house refugees on Manus Island was reportedly blocked today by locals.

A refugee inside Hillside Haus said about 50 Manusian men stopped vehicles using the road to Hillside and West Lorengau Hauses for about an hour.

The PNG police could not be reached for comment.

Locals had previously expressed opposition to the facilities being built close to their houses.

The refugee advocate, Ian Rintoul, said a group of locals entered the Hillside compound on Saturday and switched off the generator.

"The generator runs 24/7, the locals don't like it. It's been plonked in that area without any kind of consultation," said Mr Rintoul.

"But what it revealed was just how vulnerable and the complete lack of security at Hillside Haus."

Mr Rintoul said the incursion by locals and ongoing construction at the new facilities showed they were not ready to house refugees refusing to leave the former detention centre.

"There's about 17 people who are in West Lorengau now, but they don't have power, there's no water reticulated to the place and it is still a construction site."

 Contruction of at West Lorengau Haus is ongoing.

Contruction at West Lorengau Haus is ongoing. Photo: supplied

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs