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Manus Island asylum seekers hit out at changes that will force them to fend for themselves

Hundreds of asylum seekers on Manus Island will have to start cooking and cleaning for themselves within days as tensions escalate ahead of the detention centre being closed.

Exclusive pictures obtained by The Courier-Mail reveal asylum seekers have held large protests and demanded to be able to stay at the “hellhole” regional processing centre.

About 500 asylum seekers have been informed by letter that they need to be move to the East Lorengau transit centre because the regional processing centre will be closed on October 31.

More than 300 asylum seekers have refused to sign the letter, pointing to potential conflict in the coming days.

Services have started winding down at the detention centre as buildings are demolished.

At the detention centre asylum seekers are provided all meals and necessities, such as fruit packs, hygiene needs, bus services to town, washing supplies and full health services.

They get points for completing various activities and use those points to buy things at a shopfront.

But at the East Lorengau transit centre they will have to buy what they need and prepare their own food.

Those already found to be refugees will now get an allowance from the PNG government. Those asylum seekers who have not been found to be refugees will not get an allowance.

The Courier-Mail understands there are about 600 asylum seekers at the dentition centre – 467 refugees and 141 non-refugees.

About 60 have already moved to the new location and more than 580 people have left PNG to return to their country of origin.

The PNG Government this month posted a notice at the detention centre advising asylum seekers trying to get to the US – under a deal with Australia – that they could apply to relocate to Nauru.

“The Government of Nauru will then decide which refugees can transfer,’’ the notice said.

“Refugees transferring to Nauru will have access to the same services and resettlement arrangements as other refugees in Nauru.”

The Human Rights Centre demanded the asylum seekers be brought to Australia.


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