Asylum seekers urge PNG and Aust to respect protest as it reaches 110 days

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By Charles MOI
Asylum seekers at the decommissioned regional processing centre on Manus will not move despite electricity, water and food supplies to the centre being cut, according to a refugee.
Kurdish Iran journalist Behrouz Boochani told The National that there were still doing a peaceful protest in the centre to send the message to the governments of Papua New Guinea  and Australia that they would not move to the other facilities.
“We have been in a peaceful protest for 110 days to send this message to the government that we are not going to leave this prison camp to another one,” Boochani said.
“They should respect our protest. If they are honest they should try to send us to New Zealand and not push us to go to another prison.”
Boochani said the situation at the centre was calm but living conditions had worsened.
“The toilets are very dirty and
there is no clean water,” Boochani said.
He said conditions at the centre were hot and humid and some asylum seekers were suffering from skin infections.
“Our bodies are getting weak and its getting critical,” he said.
Boochani is among about 600 men who are still refusing to leave the centre for safety reasons.
Lawyer Ben Lomai, representing the asylum seekers, had earlier told them to remain inside the centre while he appealed a decision of the Supreme Court which refused an application by Boochani to restore basic services such as water, food and electricity to the centre.
All services to the centre were withdrawn on October 31 when it was closed in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling in April last year that the detention of asylum seekers there was unconstitutional.
Water and power supplies, food and security had been withdrawn since while the asylum seekers have been offered alternative accommodation on Manus.