PNG Police arrest Iranian Kurdish journalist and asylum seeker Behrouz Boochani

PNG Police arrest Iranian Kurdish journalist and asylum seeker Behrouz Boochani

Mostly from Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Syria, the men are held under Australia's strict "sovereign borders" immigration policy, under which it refuses to allow asylum seekers arriving by boat to reach its shores. Advocates say few have taken up these options.

Authorities in Papua New Guinea have removed dozens of asylum seekers and ratcheted up pressure on more than 300 others to abandon a decommissioned immigration camp.

Three other refugees are at risk of arrest on the same grounds.

Papua New Guinea's Immigration department did not respond to a request for comment.

Australia shut down the Manus Island centre after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional, urging asylum seekers to move to transit centres elsewhere on the island.

But more than 350 men remain holed up there, because they say the new accommodation doesn't have adequate facilities and they fear for their safety.

PNG authorities have tried to undermine efforts of refugees to survive at the camp by stopping food coming in, sabotaging water tanks and water storage created by refugees, and denying them the ability to purchase over-the-counter medications in the town of Lorengau.

"The police already, they beat some of the refugees and the local people".

"They just attacked here and they are saying that you must move at this time".

Nai Jit Lam, a regional representative for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva on Tuesday that asylum seekers "are still not adequately provided for outside the centre".

Visiting Manus Island in September, Human Rights Watch reported almost every refugee and asylum seeker who was interviewed had experienced or witnessed violence. Assailants used knives, machetes, sticks, screwdrivers, and sometimes threw rocks. Some of the detainees climbed onto the roof of one of the buildings.

One of the men, however, said people were being beaten and forced onto buses by police and immigration.

Now locals are also angry that there was no consultation regarding the centers that were built in residential areas.

"They think this is some way they can pressure the Australian Government to let them come to Australia", he said.

They were there to try and remove the about 400 refugees who have refused to move to new camps at almost Lorengau.

However, far fewer people have been relocated than hoped.

"It is really one of the scariest days and one of the awful days that we have experienced since we came to Manus Island and everyone is really depressed and exhausted but people are just saying the same thing that we do not want to leave this place because we are exhausted of being in prison, from one prison to another prison". Mr Boochani said the refugees were extremely scared and some were crying, but sitting peacefully and otherwise completely silent.

The US has agreed to resettle up to 1,250 of the refugees under a deal struck by Barack Obama's administration that President Donald Trump has reluctantly made a decision to honour.

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