Police reportedly used metal rods to force asylum seekers out of a former Australian detention center

A screenshot from a video showing police hitting refugees with metal rods at Manus Island Screenshot: Twitter
  • Papua New Guinea police reportedly used metal rods to beat refugees and asylum seekers at a former Australian detention center on Manus Island.
  • The police were trying to clear the center after Australia abandoned it three weeks ago.
  • More than 400 men had remained at the center.

Local police reportedly used metal poles to beat and force refugees and asylum seekers out of a former Australian detention center in Papua New Guinea on Friday.

PNG police confirmed to SBS News that 328 men were “moved out of the camp” but said “nobody was forced.”

A video reportedly filmed at the center on Friday morning showed guards hitting men with metal rods as they appear to be are dragged away.

The Iranian-Kurdish refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani, who was detained during police action on Thursday, also reported on Twitter that men said they were beaten by police and were now leaving the detention center.

Australian authorities left the processing center, cutting off power and water, on October 31 after the PNG Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that it was illegal.

However, many of the men feared for their lives so had chosen not to relocate to other accommodation options.

On Thursday, local authorities entered the former detention center to try and move the men and there were reportsauthorities were being aggressive and threatening. PNG police told Fairfax Media that they would not be using force.

On Thursday, The United Nations Human Rights Council responded to allegations of brutality by Manus Island police, saying they were “troubled” by reports of police forcibly removing asylum seekers and refugees from the center.

“UNHCR has been given assurances that excessive for has not been used, but cannot independently confirm as staff have not been granted full access to the facilities,” the statement read.

On Friday, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that “busloads” of the men were leaving after “complying with the lawful directions of the PNG authorities,” and headed to other accommodations “as they should.”