21 Oct 2013

Calls for Australian security company in PNG to lose contract

7:30 pm on 21 October 2013

An Australian refugee advocacy group says the security group at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea should have its contract revoked.

A Refugee Rights Action Network advocate, Victoria Martin-Iverson, says the Australian firm, G4S, failed to protect asylum seekers during a brawl between PNG police and the PNG Defence Force last Friday.

She says when the fight erupted, G4S security workers packed their bags and ran out of the centre, leaving the asylum seekers locked inside.

She says asylum seekers were told by G4S workers to put on their shoes and look after themselves.

"G4S should have its contract immediately revoked because they failed to fulfil their core responsibility. To lock vulnerable asylum seekers in while a battle involving sticks and rocks is occuring 10 metres away is an abrogation of responsibility."

Victoria Martin-Iverson.

But G4S denies the reports its personnel abandoned the camp.

It says all asylum seekers in the camp remained under the care of G4S staff at all times during the brawl.