Papua New Guinea police destroy shelters at Australian refugee camp

An undated handout photo from Australian advocacy group GetUp shows refugees at the Australian detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Australia declared the center closed on October 31, shutting off water and electricity supplies following a Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruling that the camp was unconstitutional. (GetUp / AFP)
Updated 10 November 2017
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Papua New Guinea police destroy shelters at Australian refugee camp

SYDNEY: Papua New Guinea authorities destroyed makeshift shelters and removed water sources in a shuttered Australia refugee camp Friday, just hours ahead of a deadline for the inmates to leave or be forced out, detainees said.
The reported actions by police and immigration officials came as video shot by Australian advocacy group GetUp showed some 600 men living in squalid conditions in the detention facility on PNG’s Manus Island.
Australia declared the center closed on October 31, shutting off water and electricity supplies following a Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruling that the camp was unconstitutional.
The detainees were taken to PNG under a tough Australian policy that sends asylum-seekers who try and reach the country by boat to Manus or a second camp on the Pacific island of Nauru.
The refugees have refused to leave the camp even as conditions have deteriorated, citing fears of a hostile reception from locals near three new transition centers set up for them.
“Everyone in the tropics knows how precious water is and how quickly dehydration can become a serious medical issue,” Refugee Action Coalition’s Ian Rintoul said in a statement Friday of the authorities’ actions.
Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian refugee on Manus, tweeted Friday that shelters were torn down and rubbish bins used to collect rainwater had been destroyed.
“Police and immigration destroyed our shelters. Inside the rooms is very hot without power for fans. We built these shelters to provide shade & cover from tropical sun & rain,” he wrote.
He said workers on Thursday had also removed security fences around the center.
A photo he shared with AFP showed water being emptied from bins. Another refugee, Sudanese Abdul Aziz Adam, showed AFP an image of men removing a shelter.
Earlier Friday, footage released by GetUp showed men sleeping on tables outside cramped shipping containers to escape the heat, as well as blocked toilets and makeshift wells dug to store water.
“Death or serious illness is inevitable in coming days,” GetUp human rights co-director Shen Narayanasamy, who visited the camp, said in a statement.
“These men are sick, thirsty and hungry. The conditions are appalling and it’s obvious you wouldn’t choose to stay here if you thought you could be safer elsewhere.”
The GetUp report came after a notice put up at the camp Thursday warned “force may be used to relocate those who refuse to move voluntarily” by Saturday.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill added that “appropriate means” would be used to “apprehend individuals who are causing unnecessary anxiety and violence.”
Canberra has been under pressure from refugee advocates and the United Nations to close the camps on Manus and Nauru amid concerns about their conditions and the impact of prolonged detention on mental and physical health.
But the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva Thursday slammed the closure of Manus “without adequate arrangements for long-term viable relocation solutions for all refugees and asylum-seekers transferred there.”
The refugees are barred from resettling in Australia but Canberra has struggled to transfer them to third countries.
A deal struck with the United States to take up to 1,250 refugees has so far only seen 54 accepted, with 24 flown to America in September.


‘No-deal' Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

Updated 16 min 36 sec ago
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‘No-deal' Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

  • Many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement
  • Without a deal, the UK would move to customs arrangements set by the WTO for external states with no preferential deals

LONDON: Leaving the European Union without a proper divorce deal could ground airlines, stop hauliers from lugging goods to the world’s biggest trading bloc and even make headaches for pet owners who want to take their dogs on holiday, according to government documents.
With just six months to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that negotiations are at an impasse and that the EU must come up with new proposals on how to craft a divorce settlement.
Many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement, thrusting the world’s fifth largest economy into a “no-deal” Brexit that they say would spook financial markets and silt up the arteries of trade.
Britain, which has warned it could leave without a deal, published 25 technical notices on Monday covering everything from commercial road haulage and buying timber to airline regulations and taking pets abroad.
“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission,” the government said.
Overall, the government has published more than 65 such notices giving a glimpse of what a no-deal Brexit — the nightmare scenario for chief executives of most multinationals operating in Britain — would look like.
Amid warnings that trucks could stack up on both sides of the English Channel in the confusion of a no deal, Britain said it would seek to strike bilateral agreements with European countries to ensure hauliers would retain access.
The notices covered a vast swathe of the British economy, warning, for example, that labels on packaged food would have to be changed.
“Use of the term ‘EU’ in origin labelling would no longer be correct for food or ingredients from the UK,” the government said.
Honey producers would have to change their labels while EU countries might not accept British mineral water, the government said.
In the worse case scenario for pet owners, dogs, cats and even ferrets might need health certificates and rabies jabs. Travel plans would have to be discussed with a vet at least four months in advance before traveling to the EU.
That would mean someone wanting to take their pet to the EU on March 30, 2019, the day after Britain leaves the bloc, would have to discuss the trip with a vet before the end of November.
Without a deal, the UK would move from seamless trade with the rest of the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states with no preferential deals.
Brexiteers accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say the government is trying to scare voters about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Britain, many Brexiteers say, will thrive in the longer term if cut loose from what they see as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity and excessive debt-funded welfare spending.