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Tuesday 26 April 2016 | Published in Regional


PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Detainees in Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island have said they will soon be allowed to leave detention during the day.

But its an offer of increasing freedoms many are wary of.

The 850 detainees inside the centre have been separated based on whether their refugee claims have succeeded.

They said those found to be refugees would now be free to leave detention between 7.00am and 4.00pm each day, and will be taken to the main town on Manus Island, Lorengau, by bus.

The new arrangements follow a major relocation of detainees within the Manus Island centre.

The men whose claims were rejected have been put in separate compounds inside the centre and will not be allowed out.

They said they have been told their only option is go back to the country they came from.

The successful refugees are being told they must move to a transit centre closer to Lorengau, where they will be prepared for resettlement in Papua New Guinea.

Many are refusing to go because they do not want to be resettled in PNG, and are scared of crime and violence.

The refugees on Manus Island are being told they must accept resettlement in Papua New Guinea, but many are still refusing to leave the detention centre.

“We feel very bad about this news,” one detainee said. “Last night we couldn’t sleep at all.

“After years of holding us here you pretend that we are free. Why did this not happen before?”

The refugees said they would not be allowed to walk out of the centre, because it is on a PNG naval base, but they can take buses to the town of Lorengau and spend a small allowance of up to $60 dollars a week.