UN urges Australia to take NZ refugee deal

Officials dismantle makeshift water tanks at the former detention centre (Twitter/@Kon_K)

As the Manus crisis continues, the United Nations refugee agency has urged the Australian government to accept New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's offer to take in 150 refugees, SBS News reports.

Since the Manus Island detention centre closed on October 31, hundreds of men barricaded themselves inside – protesting the push to move to the alternative accommodation due to safety fears.

But the PNG government, police and defence force has continued their push to move refugees from the complex.

The UNHCR, who has people on the ground, told SBS News the alternative accommodation was not ready for the men to live in.

About 420 men still remain in the closed centre where food, water and medical supplies have been cut off.

A court request to reinstate the services was denied and an appeal was lodged by the refugees' lawyer, but this has been pushed back to next week.

UNHCR deputy regional representative Nai Jit Lam told SBS News yesterday a solution to the refugee crisis was urgently needed.

"The most important thing for the refugees is a solution," he said, calling on Australia to accept New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru.

"This solution is very important because it's been offered... it's on the table and it's something that needs to be considered very seriously."

Mr Lam said it was "incomprehensible" for the Australian government not to take up the offer immediately.

Mr Lam also echoed the refugees' claims that their new accommodation - the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre and the West Lorengau Haus - was incomplete, referring specifically to the West Lorengau Haus.

New Zealand’s newly elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plans to repeat her offer to take 150 refugees when she meets Malcolm Turnbull in the Philippines this week.

Mr Turnbull previously turned down Ms Ardern's offer – placing preference on a refugee deal with the United States instead.

FULL STORY

UN urges Australia to accept New Zealand's Manus refugees offer (SBS News)

RELATED COVERAGE

Manus Island: Immigration officials destroying water supplies as pressure to leave ramps up (ABC News)

Leave today or face forcible eviction, men in Manus centre told (The Guardian)

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