20 asylum seekers return home - March 2 (2017)

 Thanks to Kurdish Iran journalist Behrouz Boochani who is detained in the centre, the outside world can know the struggles the asylum seekers face on Manus Island in PNG (more on The National website 20 asylum seekers return home )

By CHARLES MOI
TWENTY asylum seekers from the Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island returned to their countries last month due to continued pressure from PNG Immigration and the Australian Border Force, a detainee says.
Kurdish Iran journalist Behrouz Boochani, detained at the centre, told The National yesterday that more asylum seekers were expected to leave this month after they succumbed to pressure from the officials.
“The immigration used a lot of different ways to push them to go back, which means they did not go back according to their own decisions,” Boochani said.
He said tactics carried out by the officials included threats of deportation and monetary incentives if an asylum seeker agreed to return to his home country.
He said that from the 20 asylum seekers that left, 16 were from Nepal which included one who was deported early last month.
The other four are from Iran.
According to Boochani, three asylum seekers from Lebanon and 12 from Bangladesh agreed to voluntarily leave the centre.
“They will be transferred in the next few days,” Boochani said.
“All of these men signed but the big problem is that all of them were under pressure and threatened by immigration for a long time.
“Nobody has done research about the people who went back to their countries during the past four years, so we don’t know what has happened to them.
“It’s hard to imagine the cruelty of this policy and how they have put so much pressure on people who had suffered incredibly for four years.”
Boochani said that the Resettlement Support Centre, a company contracted to assist refugees seeking permanent resettlement in the United States, interviewed about 20 refugees per day.
The Resettlement Support Centre was contracted by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
He said that there was uncertainty within the centre whether the resettlement deal between the Australian and the United States governments would eventuate.
“In Manus, there are no advisers for refugees to help them make decisions about their future,” he said.
“When refugees asked RSC (Resettlement Support Centre) company officers, they don’t give them any useful information.
“There is no assurance that they will reunite with their families and it’s very worrying .”

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