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PNG army will not use Force to remove Asylum Seekers

DESPITE setting another deadline for the 379 refugees and asylum seekers at the Manus Island regional processing centre to leave yesterday or face forcible eviction, Manus police commander David Yapu says force will not be used to move them. “Force will not be used but voluntary removals will continue and the process is happening smoothly,” Mr Yapu said.

PNG authorities have moved into the centre yesterday and destroyed shelters’ and storage water tanks built by the refugees who are refusing to leave the decommissioned, Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island, but have avoided using force to forcibly evict anyone in their efforts to move people on.

“That’s a good approach, if those that really want to go to Lorengau than they obviously can go there but those that did not really want to go to Lorengau they can stay back in Lobrum awaiting this court and you can’t force anybody against his will and so they can’t be forced to go to the place where they don’t really want to go, so the approach that they are taking is good,” the refugees and asylum seekers lawyer Ben Lomai said.

Mr Lomai said that if the approach is humane like this one than the government is likely to get some solutions.

In a statement on Sunday, Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas urged refugees and asylum seekers still in the processing centre they must leave by Monday “so that they can have access to basic necessities such as food, water, medical care and security and that the work on decommissioning of the facility can be completed for the PNG Defence Force to take complete control of their land and property”. Post Courier/Pacnews
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