1 dead in Papua New Guinea after riot at immigration detention center
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
MELBOURNE - A second night of violence at Australia’s immigration detention center in Papua New Guinea has left one person dead and 77 injured, the Australian Immigration Minister has confirmed.
Refugee advocate groups said that locals and PNG police attacked the center with machetes, knives and other weapons.
Thirteen of the 77 people injured suffered serious injuries and two were transfered to Australia for treatment.
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told ABC that the asylum seekers should be brought back to Australia as Manus Island is a dangerous place for them.
"From what we heard - that gangs of armed police and locals actually went from compound to compound, you know, hunting down asylum seekers and inflicting very serious injuries on people that they got their hands on," reported Australia's national broadcaster.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Tuesday that Ghulam Murtaza, whose brother is currently in the detention center, had said that his brother had called him during the violence crying, saying locals and police wanted to throw them out of the center and attacked them with rocks and other weapons.
On Sunday night, asylum seekers were arrested and 19 were treated for injuries after 35 people escaped from the center on Manus Island .
The detention center was built in 2001 as part of Australia’s Pacific Solution - a policy of transporting asylum seekers to detention centers on island nations in the Pacific Ocean, rather than allowing them to stay on Australian land.
According to a statement by the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC), there have been daily protests on the island involving hundreds of asylum seekers since January 25 amid an increase in delays in processing and uncertainty about the detainees’ future.
There are currently around 1,300 asylum seekers on the island.
It is not known where they are from, but - according to crowdvoice, an open source online service focusing on social justice movements worldwide - in the past five years 33 percent of maritime arrivals to Australia came from Afghanistan, 21 percent were from Sri Lanka, 20 percent from Iran, 9 percent were stateless, 6 percent were Iraqi, 6 percent were from Pakistan and 5 percent were classified as "Other."
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