Jacinda Ardern reaffirms NZ's offer to take 150 refugees from Australia's offshore detention centres

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1 NEWS | NZN

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today reaffirmed New Zealand's offer to Australia to take 150 refugees who have gone through their offshore processing system.

That offer was made by the previous Government in 2013, and now 600 refugees are refusing to leave the offshore detention centre, fearing they'll be attacked by locals.
Source: 1 NEWS

Australia's offshore processing legislation has many refugees detained in centres in Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and the Pacific Island of Nauru.  

"New Zealand's offer comes from within our existing refugee quota and applies to refugees on both Manus Island and Nauru," Ms Ardern said.

"I expect that the situation on Manus Island will be discussed in my meeting with Prime Minister Turnbull on Sunday. I intend to reaffirm our offer when we meet."

About 600 refugees have barricaded themselves inside the now closed camp on Manus Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea, fearful they'll be attacked by locals if they venture outside.

They have no power, no water and mosquitoes are causing concerns about malaria, one of the refugees told NZ Newswire yesterday.

Iranian Behrouz Boochani said New Zealand was his best chance of resettlement.

"We are asking New Zealand to seriously have negotiations with the Australian government to take us from this prison," he said.

"Our message is to put pressure on the Australian government to accept the offer. We have been here for more than four years."

In June this year the UN's special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, reported that Australia's offshore detention system "cannot be salvaged" and was responsible for "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" of the detainees.

"I acknowledge that, while New Zealand has not had to contend with these issues on our shores, it's hard to ignore the human face of this situation and nor should it be ignored," Ms Ardern said.

"New Zealand will also maintain its right to use its robust screening processes for the Refugee Quota programme, regardless of the origin of the refugees. This will safeguard against any security concerns.”

Ms Ardern is set to have her first sit down meeting with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this Sunday in Sydney. 

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said today she would like New Zealand to work with Australia to find a "compassionate solution" problems at the detention centres.

"I really hope Australia does take up our offer, we are here to help," Mr Lees-Galloway said today.

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