‘People are still homeless’: First look inside Manus Island refugees’ new home

Updated November 26, 2017 19:01:11

Protests about the treatment of refugees on Manus Island were held in cities on Sunday as first footage out of the refugees’ new home appears to show unfinished accommodation and no power.

On Friday, men who remained in the decommissioned detention centre on the Papua New Guinea island were forcibly removed and taken to their new accommodation.

The Government organised three new sites for the men: non-refugees could relocate to Hillside Haus, refugees could move to the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre or West Lorengau Haus.

Ezathullah Kakar was one of the men transported on Friday, and he filmed from inside the gates of his new home — which appears to be West Lorengau Haus — on Saturday.

Mr Kakar’s vision shows an unfinished site with construction workers still pouring concrete, demountable buildings, dirty bathrooms and unmoving fans — which he said was because the power was not connected.

“People are sleeping without aircon, without electricity,” he said.

He pointed out a bathroom where the floor was covered in mud and there were objects in the sinks, and said there were no cleaners on site.

“So, this is our new life after four-and-a-half years in the prison camp,” he said.

Mr Kakar films a group of men gathered outside demountable buildings.

“People are still homeless and looking for their rooms,” he said.

Calls for men to be brought to Australia

The footage was provided to the ABC by GetUp, and in protests organised by the same group hundreds of people gathered in capital cities to demonstrate against the Federal Government’s treatment of the asylum seekers on Manus Island.

The protesters called for the men to be brought to Australia.

Lines of riot police kept order at the protest in Melbourne, while hundreds gathered out the front of Parliament House in Canberra to have their message heard.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney at Circular Quay, with the demonstrators making the sign that is now common to the activists protesting the treatment of the people at Manus Island — sitting down, with their arms crossed over their heads.

Christian pastor Jarrod McKenna told the Sydney rally he had seen conditions on Manus Island after being smuggled into the detention centre during the past week.

“Twenty-five hours being there with them took a mental toll on me. I’m not sure that I could last there one week,” he said.

“Now, stretch that over not one week, not one month, but four-and-a-half, coming on five, years and that’s what these men are facing.”

Power was vandalised: Government

The Immigration Minister’s Office was contacted for comment about their plans for the men on Manus and the state of the accommodation.

The ABC was referred to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s comments and media releases from Friday which said East Lorengau was finished but that “PNG continues to add capacity to West Lorengau Haus to cater for the return of those currently transferred to Port Moresby for medical treatment”.

Some water infrastructure had been vandalised and “some equipment had been sabotaged at the alternative accommodation centres, including damage to backup generators” the statement said.

“The equipment is being repaired or replaced … these matters are under investigation.”

Topics: refugees, immigration, government-and-politics, federal-government, papua-new-guinea, australia, sydney-2000, canberra-2600, melbourne-3000

First posted November 26, 2017 18:40:09