Turnbull urges men on Manus Island to move


refuggeeThe PNG Supreme Court has rejected a bid to restore electricity, medical care, food and water supplies to the mothballed Manus Island detention centre.

Malcolm Turnbull is urging refugees and asylum seekers holed up inside the Manus Island detention centre to move to alternative accommodation, criticising those he suspects of encouraging the men not to budge.

A week since the Manus Island compound was shut down to comply with a 2016 court ruling, almost 600 men remain barricaded inside the mothballed centre.

They are adamant it’s safer to remain than risk being attacked by locals at new accommodation sites near the main township of Lorengau.

“There are alternative facilities available of a very high quality with food and all of the (other) facilities,” Mr Turnbull told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“The residents at Manus, the RPC, they are being asked to move and they should move.”

The prime minister’s intervention comes as the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court rejected a bid for the resumption of electricity, food, medical care and water supplies to the camp.

Asked if he accepted the men were too scared to move, Mr Turnbull said “the very sad reality” was some activists in Australia, including Greens senator Nick McKim, were encouraging them to stay.

“I think the responsible course of action is to encourage them to comply with the lawful requests and requirements of the PNG authorities,” the prime minister said.

Ben Lomai, the lawyer for the group, lodged an application in the PNG Supreme Court on Monday, arguing for services and utilities to be restored based on human rights grounds.

An appeal may be lodged as early as Wednesday.