News People Asylum seekers offered $20,000 to ‘go home’
Updated:

Asylum seekers offered $20,000 to ‘go home’

Manus
Few asylum seekers have taken up the monetary offer. Photo: Ian Rintoul
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

The Federal Government has doubled its financial offer to convince asylum seekers on Manus Island to return home, Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said.

Mr Rintoul said the offer was increased from $10,000 after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled the detention of asylum seekers was illegal in April.

“It’s a huge amount of money to try to coerce people to return home,” he said.

“There’s no one who has taken up the offer so far.

“There certainly are some people, not because of the $20,000, but because of the long delays and the frustration now with the court decision, who are considering that.”

Manus room
Manus Island’s facilities have come under constant fire. Photo: Ian Rintoul

There are around 1,000 asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

The Government said some support was available to asylum seekers, but did not specify the amount.

“Limited support is available to assist people return to their home country including with travel arrangements and reintegration which includes some financial support,” a Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesperson said.

“The level of assistance provided is based on individual circumstances.

“Transferees in Regional Processing Centres have voluntarily returned to their countries of origin.”

Seekers suffering ‘appalling human rights breaches’

Mr Rintoul said the offer to return home was increased to $10,000 in 2014, after Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati was killed during a riot inside the Manus Island detention centre.

He said even after the offer increased “very few people” have accepted money to return to their home countries.

manus island detention centre
Human Rights groups have criticised poor living conditions. Photo: AAP

“It’s a clear indication that the vast majority of people who are on Manus Island are genuine refugees with genuine fears about persecution in their home country,” he said.

“They have suffered appalling human rights breaches for almost three years on Manus Island.

“The Government is offering large amounts of money as an inducement for them to return home and they can’t get people to accept it.

“It’s one of the clearest indications that people are motivated by genuine fears.”

Mr Rintoul said detainees on Manus Island must be resettled in Australia.

The Manus Island detention centre has received criticism from human rights groups and staff for poor living conditions.

When the ABC was allowed inside the detention centre in March — the first time since it re-opened in November 2012 — journalists witnessed broken glass panels, bullet holes, tightly packed dormitories and filthy toilet and shower blocks throughout the centre.

Comments
View Comments