NEWS

Refugee Dies On Manus Island

It marks the fifth death since the detention centre opened.

07/08/2017 1:23 PM AEST | Updated 07/08/2017 3:04 PM AEST
Stringer . / Reuters
Asylum-seekers look through a fence at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea March 21, 2014. REUTERS

An Iranian refugee has died on Manus Island, where protests are underway as authorities try to shift men from the Australian run detention centre there.

Asylum seeker and journalist Behrouz Boochani said on Monday the refugee died after a long illness, and accused Australia of not giving the man medical treatment.

Manus police chief David Yapu confirmed the man's death, according to The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald.

Former Manus MP Ronny Knight tweeted the man killed himself behind the detention centre. Asylum seeker advocates have called for the government to bring the asylum seekers to Australia.

Comment has been sought from immigration minister Peter Dutton. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it is aware of the man's death, but it directed all questions to the Government of PNG.

"PNG authorities are investigating the matter," the department said in an emailed statement.

Greens senator Nick McKim said the death of the man represented an "abhorrent" failure by the Turnbull government. The man's death could be laid squarely at the feet of immigration minister Peter Dutton, he said.

"This man repeatedly sought Australia's help," McKim said.

"The Liberals ignored his pleas and now must bear responsibility for what happened.

"Enough is enough. The detention centres on Manus and Nauru must be evacuated and every single detained man, woman and child brought to Australia so they can be properly cared for."

The man's death marks the fifth asylum seeker death since the centre opened in Papua New Guinea in mid-2012.

Amnesty international said in a statement while it is not yet clear if the man's death was a result of self-harm or violence, Australia must accept liability for the damage its cruel policies are causing refugees.

"This was a man who came seeking Australia's protection, Amnesty International is gravely concerned that he was provided inadequate health care and that his safety was not the paramount consideration," Refugee Coordinator at Amnesty International Australia, Graham Thom, said.

"This death is yet another bleak tragedy to arise out of the ongoing suffering and tensions on Manus Island. There must be an independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigation into his death."

Two weeks ago three men were the victims of armed robberies, with two seriously injured in the attacks, the Human Rights law centre said in a statement.

"Our government cannot guarantee their safety or that a single person will be resettled in America," said Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre.

"After four years of fear and violence and shootings and death, the only humane and responsible way forward is to immediately evacuate every single man, woman and child held on Nauru and Manus to safety. Otherwise, further tragedy is inevitable."

Last week a 27-year-old Sudanese man reportedly had his leg cut with a bush knife when men broke into a guesthouse he was staying in in Lorengau.

Last week asylum seekers confronted guards and police who were trying to lock gates and clear one of the accommodation compounds.

Friday's standoff came amid days of protests inside the centre amid attempts to force the asylum seekers to move out.

More to come.

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