World

Tensions high as Australia closes refugee centre in Papua New Guinea

SYDNEY: Tensions were high on a Papua New Guinea island yesterday as the authorities prepared to close an Australian refugee camp, with local police calling for calm as some detainees refused to move.

The Manus Island detention centre, which is set to close tomorrow, is one of two Pacific camps where asylum seekers who try to enter Australia by boat are sent for processing under Canberra's harsh immigration policy.

Refugees had been given the option of moving to the other centre on the island of Nauru, but most detainees have shunned the offer, expressing fears that relocation could further prolong their agony.

Some have also refused to relocate on Manus, citing safety fears amid reports that they would not be welcomed in local neighbourhoods.

The plan to close the centre came after a ruling by Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court last year that holding people there was unconstitutional. - AFP

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