China And A Manus Island Police Chief Have Questioned Australia's Asylum Seeker Policies

Facilities at the Manus Island detention centre, shown in a handout photo provided by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, from 2012.

A senior policeman on Manus Island has blamed the Australian government for the recent violence at a detention camp that saw one asylum seeker killed and two more seriously injured.

Detainees at the camp broke free after a series of disturbances earlier in the week and were reportedly set upon by local authorities. More than 70 were hurt.

“The Australian government should change its approach and act quickly on the petition which was handed to the authority last week by the transferees,” Police commander Alex N’Drasal told Fairfax.

He also said more experienced staff should be given control of the centre, which is run by security firm G4S. The Government has not renewed G4S’s contract.

“These asylum seekers are educated people and should be treated like one,” N’Drasal said.

In China, officials have also discussed Australia’s asylum seeker policies, with a senior politician saying concerns had been raised through diplomatic channels.

Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Li Baodong, told reporters the country was particularly concerned about the treatment of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat.

“Indeed, we have proposed this question very candidly and also stated our concerns,” Li said. “We also asked if these refugees will be illegally repatriated to other countries.”

Local politician Bob Knight MP has also spoken to AAP, saying the violence started after G4S guards made abusive comments to the detainees.

Yesterday Tony Abbott rebuffed some of criticism, saying the Manus Island facility would be run fairly, or “if necessary, firmly.”

“We will not succumb to pressure, to moral blackmail,” Abbott said.

There’s more here.

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