16 Mar 2013

Australia removes sick asylum seekers from PNG camp

6:25 am on 16 March 2013

Australia has reportedly transferred about 20 asylum seekers, including six pregnant women, from its refugee detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

The spokesperson for the Australian based Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, says the transfer is an admission that the family compound is unfit for families and that access to medical facilities is inadequate.

Among the people reportedly transferred is an eight-year old Iraqi girl.

Mr Rintoul says three weeks ago the Australian Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor claimed the facilities were adequate and now he has evacuated all sick and pregnant asylum seekers.

The Greens say it's well beyond time for the government to shut down its failed offshore detention centres.

A party spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, says Manus Island and Nauru are not saving lives or even stopping boats.