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Manus Island Crisis: Deadline Looms For Hundreds In Detention Centre

The detainees face forced removal.
Asylum-seekers are staring down forcible removal on Manus Island.
Asylum-seekers are staring down forcible removal on Manus Island.

Hundreds of asylum seekers holed up at the Manus Island detention centre face an increasingly uncertain future as a deadline approaches for the men to vacate the controversial facility.

PNG authorities are threatening to forcibly remove the around 600 men barricaded inside Australia's shut-down detention centre on the PNG island. They have refused to leave the centre after it closed last week.

The men are coming close to marking their 100th protest since August and eight days without services like power and water. They are refusing to leave amid fears new accommodation on the PNG island isn't ready or safe.

This week, a PNG court denied a push from lawyers for the group to restore water and electricity to the defunct centre. That decision is being appealed.

Since the ruling, PNG defence force personnel have blockaded the camp to prevent civilians from entering and Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has cautioned that authorities will apprehend individuals who are causing "unnecessary anxiety and violence".

Those inside the centre are said to have been given a deadline of today to leave the facility, or be forcibly removed.

Greens Senator Nick McKim, who is on the island, said the situation at the centre was deteriorating.

"The situation was extremely dire in that camp when I was in the camp just a week ago, and conditions have deteriorated markedly since then," he told ABC television on Saturday.

McKim said PNG police entered the camp on Friday and overturned bins the men were using to catch rainwater.

"The guys had to stand there and watch as their precious lifeline, their only drinking water just drained into the dust," he added.

The United Nations Refugee Council's Deputy Regional Representative Nai Jit Lam said many services were not up to standard for the detainees on the island.

"The movement out of the centre would ... entail that critical services continue for the refugee population which, some of whom have serious medical needs," he told the ABC.

"From our observations, the services withdrawn from the regional processing centre have not been adequately replaced outside the centre. That is a serious concern for us."

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has previously said that the transit facilities available in PNG for asylum seekers and refugees are secure and completed.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has been sought for comment.

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