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Asylum seekers in Port Moresby for medical treatment

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By DAPHNE WANI
MORE than 70 asylum seekers from Manus are in Port Moresby seeking  assistance from medical specialists and are not sure if they will go back to the island.
Among them an Iranian, who was flown into the city with 20 others on Saturday, said he was awaiting an arrangement for medical treatment.
The man said the Australian government was planning to close down the centre on Oct 31 and they were told that their medical support would also cease within three weeks.
“They (Immigration) brought us here and they will leave us here. They are building a new centre at Bomana and they will put us into the new houses there,” he told The National.
He said demolition work in Manus was progressing daily and there was no discussion on where the refugees would be resettled.
He said Immigration officials were currently forcing them off to East Lorengau to settle there or to voluntarily go back to the country they fled from. “It’s not safe to stay at East Lorengau after one of us was killed and the body was found.
“We are worried about our safety. No one feels safe, and there is no plan for what will happen to us after October 31,” the Iranian said.
Ben Lomai, the lawyer representing the asylum seekers, said he was concerned about them being dumped in Port Moresby and urged the Australian and PNG governments to discuss their destiny sooner rather than later.
“Once they are in Port Moresby, they won’t be able to return to Manus and after three weeks, they won’t be able to get financial assistance from the Australian government anymore.” Lomai said.
He said that placed a lot of pressure on the detainees as they would be without protection.
Meanwhile, attempts to get comments from the acting chief immigration officer Solomon Kantha failed.
Protests at the Manus centre against the closure of the centre and restrictions to water and power supplies are continuing.

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