After the stand-off, uncertainty: Police empty Manus Island facility

PNG police have stormed the decommissioned Manus Island detention centre and given hundreds of refugees and asylum ...
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PNG police have stormed the decommissioned Manus Island detention centre and given hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers an ultimatum to leave.

All remaining refugees and asylum seekers at the mothballed Manus Island detention facility have been moved out, ending a tense three-week stand-off.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Friday confirmed the 300-odd men who had refused to leave the centre are now in alternative accommodation.

"The Australian government welcomes this development," he said in a statement.

PNG immigration officers lead people out of the decommissioned detention centre on Friday.
SUPPLIED

PNG immigration officers lead people out of the decommissioned detention centre on Friday.

Papua New Guinea police and immigration officers bearing metal batons entered the centre on Friday morning to complete the task of clearing it, three weeks after it was officially closed.

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Video shows local police hitting and threatening refugees and photographs appeared to confirm injuries.

Some of the new accommodation to which asylum seekers on Manus Island moved on Friday.
SUPPLIED

Some of the new accommodation to which asylum seekers on Manus Island moved on Friday.

The UN High Commission for Refugees also received reports of force being used.

PNG police said no-one was forced or handcuffed.

The centre, set up by Australia to process asylum seeker boat arrivals, was officially closed on October 31. However, the men refused to leave, saying the new facilities were unsafe and lacked proper health services.

Dutton accused advocates in Australia of making inaccurate and exaggerated claims of violence and injuries on Manus.

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"What is clear is that there has been an organised attempt to provoke trouble and disrupt the new facilities," he said.

The federal government has been told that some equipment at the alternative accommodation centres has been "sabotaged" - including backup generators and water infrastructure.

But who did the damage is unclear.

"The equipment is being repaired or replaced and the government understands these matters are under investigation," Dutton said.

"Advocates should now desist from holding out false hope to these men that they will ever be brought to Australia."

World Vision chief advocate Tim Costello, who is on Manus Island, said a number of those taken by bus to the new camps were covered in bruises and scratches and suffering from malnutrition.

At least one of the three alternative centres remained a construction site, he said, with machinery, tractors, concrete mixers and open drains still there.

"If you were an Australian builder you wouldn't let a civilian onto it, let alone move in," he told AAP.

"It's not over. The problem hasn't changed - it's just moved a few kilometres and it's still Australia's responsibility."

He suggested Malcolm Turnbull could appoint a special envoy to improve the situation.

The envoy would be an "honest broker" who could talk to Papua New Guinea authorities, and New Zealand about their offer to resettle 150 refugees, and the possibility of a special visa that would ban them from coming to Australia.

Labor believes the 24-day stand-off could have been avoided if the prime minister and Dutton had managed the situation properly from the start.

Shadow Immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said the prime minister must now ensure the asylum seekers and refugees are kept safe and secure while they remained in PNG.

"Turnbull has a moral obligation to ensure refugees have access to essential services at the alternative accommodation including food, water, security, health and welfare services," he said in a statement.

His sentiments were echoed by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which urged the government and PNG to ensure effective protection of the men.

"Australia and Papua New Guinea must honour their international human rights obligations and ensure that these people are being housed in a humane and safe environment," president Rosalind Croucher said.

The commission, which said it was disturbed by the apparent use of force and threatening behaviour, noted that many of the men had complex mental and physical health needs and needed care.

 - AAP

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