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Thanks, but no thanks: Malcolm Turnbull spurns Jacinda Ardern's refugee offer

06 November 2017

The Australian government has not responded to Colville's comments.

However, Mr Andrews said Australia should also accept New Zealand's offer to take the refugees provided 'it doesn't become a backdoor entry via New Zealand to Australia'.

Donald Trump called it a dumb deal but Malcolm Turnbull says the USA agreement to take 1250 refugees from Australia is his priority over New Zealand's offer to help 150.

Some 600 asylum seekers and refugees have barricaded themselves in the Manus Island complex, which officially closed last Tuesday following a Papua New Guinean Supreme Court ruling in April.

With New Zealand's offer again declined, refugees on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island say they have no faith in the United States to resettle any more of Australia's offshore detainees.

Dr Barri Phatarfod from Doctors for Refugees said no electrocardiogram heart monitoring or blood tests were carried out. The men also fear violent reprisals from the local community.

United Nations rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news conference in Geneva on Friday about the "unfolding humanitarian emergency" in the Manus island center, where asylum seekers have been reportedly digging wells to try to find water.

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"At the moment hundreds of naked men are lying around me", wrote Boochani.

Ardern acknowledged the two Tasman neighbors faced different immigration problems but said the offer remained open. "They force us to starve".

Since 2013, Canberra has locked up all asylum seekers who try to reach its shores by boat in camps in the South Pacific. "You can't keep political hostages". They are Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Afghans, Iranians, Sri Lankans and other nationalities.

It was extended by his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern when the pair met in Sydney on Sunday.

The government has been facing growing pressure to accept the offer in recent days, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten saying on Friday that Mr Turnbull should honour New Zealand's proposal and Liberal MP Kevin Andrews breaking ranks to join that call on Sunday.

The impending closure of the camp is part of an Australian government plan to push refugees and asylum seekers to either return to their home country, settle in PNG or move elsewhere, thereby disbanding part of Australia's controversial and expensive offshore detention program.

Mr Turnbull will meet Donald Trump on the sidelines of the East Asia summit in the Philippines later this month and is facing calls to lobby for the United States president to speed up the resettlement process.

Thanks, but no thanks: Malcolm Turnbull spurns Jacinda Ardern's refugee offer