7 Apr 2016

Tension building at Manus ahead of transfer

2:28 pm on 7 April 2016
Detainees on Manus Island

Detainees on Manus Island Photo: AAP

Reports from Papua New Guinea indicate that extra police have been deployed to Manus Island to patrol the perimeters of the Australian-run asylum seeker detention centre.

The deployment coincides with the deadline for transfers between compounds to separate those found to be refuges from those who have so far received negative determinations.

PNG Immigration had indicated that they intend to house refugees on Oscar and Delta compound while those who have negative determinations will be housed in Mike and Foxtrot compound.

At meetings with detainees last week, PNG immigration said that people who refused to be transferred could be forcibly moved.

While there have been some voluntary transfers of negative in the last few days, it is understood that many will resist the transfers.

The prospect of forced transfers has raised fears of a repeat of brutal treatment of detainees in 2015, when a mass hunger strike by detainees stopped the transfer of refugees to housing outside the detention centre.

"The police patrols are clearly designed to intimidate the asylum seekers and refugees to accept the division of the camp," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

"Immigration want to divide the camp so they can put even more pressure on refugees to move out of the camp. Refugees are already denied points that they can use at the canteen. Being separated will leave both positive and negative groups even more vulnerable."

One Iranian man who self-harmed in Mike Compound was taken to the medical clinic on Tuesday.

The move to separate the camp comes as the PNG and Australian governments face of a Supreme Court constitutional challenge to the Manus Island detention centre. The challenge is scheduled to be considered in the full Supreme Court sittings in late April.

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