19 Jan 2015

Manus protestors legitimately concerned, says advocate

3:14 pm on 19 January 2015

A refugee advocate says asylum seekers protesting at the Australian-run processing centre have legitimate fears for their welfare if resettled in Papua New Guinea.

Asylum seekers in Manus Island centre protesting  against resettlement plans

Asylum seekers in Manus Island centre protesting against resettlement plans Photo: Supplied by Refugee Action Coalition

Various hunger strikers at compounds in the Manus centre have been protesting for seven days against the prospect of being resettled in PNG.

Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition the asylum seekers have faced frequent threats of violence from both locals and security personnel.

He says the protestors are understandably opposed to this week's scheduled transfer of 50 detainees to transitional housing in Manus ahead of resettlement in the community.

"This temporary accommodation they're talking about is insecure. So they'll be completely vulnerable and where you've had the police complicit in the violent attacks that took place a year ago, it's very understandable why people fear for their safety outside the detention centre."

PNG's government rejects claims that security personnel at Manus have tried to end the protest through physical confrontation.