Australia turns down NZ offer to take asylum seekers barricaded inside camp

Refugees protest on Manus Island with Australian Senator Nick McKim

"We've made an offer but it is not as significant as the agreement with the United States", Ms Ardern said.

By Sunday afternoon, about 600 refugees and asylum seekers remained at the Manus Island site, which closed on October 31 following a PNG Supreme Court decision.

Hollywood star Russell Crowe has slammed Australia for failing to even consider New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 refugees stranded on Manus Island and Nauru.

But some 600 men have locked themselves inside - despite water and electricity being cut and dwindling food supplies - saying they are fearful for their safety if they move to transition centres amid reports locals do not want them there.

Australia has an obligation to do so under worldwide human rights law and the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, he said.

The Manus island centre, and one on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, have been key parts ofAustralia's disputed "Sovereign Borders" immigration policy, under which it refuses to allow asylum seekers arriving by boat to reach its shores.

United Nations rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news conference in Geneva on Friday about the "unfolding humanitarian emergency" in the Manus island center, where asylum seekers have been reported digging wells to try to find water. "We did it on an understanding that Australia was looking for a place".

"We should have a better understanding between two prime ministers of Australia and PNG and repatriate these people", Sir Michael told SBS News after releasing a statement earlier.

However, Mr Andrews said Australia should also accept New Zealand's offer to take the refugees provided 'it doesn't become a backdoor entry via New Zealand to Australia'.

Relocating the men on Manus Island is designed as a temporary measure.

"At the moment hundreds of naked men are lying around me", Boochani wrote.

"Our situation is getting worse and we need your help", the other man said.

New Zealand's newly elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reiterated an offer to take 150 refugees from offshore centres in her first meeting with Malcolm Turnbull.

The government has been facing growing pressure to accept the offer in recent days, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten saying on Friday that Mr Turnbull should honour New Zealand's proposal and Liberal MP Kevin Andrews breaking ranks to join that call on Sunday.

A third-country resettlement deal struck between Canberra and Washington has so far only seen 24 refugees flown to the United States.

"We have conveyed to the Australian government and to the local government of Papua New Guinea as well that until the time the accommodation is ready, refugees should not be moved there", UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said.

"Australia blocking but has no right to say no", he wrote on Twitter.

"So it is clear that they are playing with us under this fake deal".



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