Jacinda Ardern: 'Hard to ignore human face of Manus Island crisis'

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She reconfirmed New Zealand's offer to Australia to take 150 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru. Visiting German President Steinmeier has been asked to intercede with Australia's prime minister.

"We are concerned by events in the past week at Australia's offshore Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea where refugees and asylum seekers are holding out after the Australian Government's decision to close the facility and pull out its support staff", Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a news conference in Geneva on Friday.

They refuse to move to alternative accommodation in the nearby Lorengau community, citing safety fears. There have been reports that men at the camp have been digging holes to find drinking water, with the United Nations calling the situation "a humanitarian emergency unfolding".

"These people have committed no crime other than to do what every single one of us would do if we thought our lives, or our family's lives, were at risk", Federal Greens lawmaker Adam Bandt told the crowd in Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city.

The relocation of the men is designed as a temporary measure, allowing the United States time to complete vetting of asylum seekers as part of a refugee swap deal, agreed on previous year, under which Australia will accept refugees from Central America.

"To look at the face of Peter Dutton is to stare into the cold eyes of someone who is prepared to kill someone for political gain", he said.

The honorable prime minister of New Zealand, we are begging you and pleading you to help us.

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"Germany has a proud record of treating migrants humanely".

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

Turnbull has also said resettlement in New Zealand could be an incentive for asylum seekers to board boats.

Last October then-Labour leader Andrew Little said Prime Minister John Key should "cause worldwide embarrassment" to Australia if it do not accept the offer for New Zealand to take up to 150 people a year from offshore detention centres. Ardern has pledged to raise the issue of refugees and has reiterated an offer to take in up to 150 refugees.

Activists rallying in Melbourne accuse Australia of trying to "starve the refugees into submission". Even if they are accorded refugee status, the government does not allow them to be settled in Australia.

Australia's offshore detention policies have been heavily criticised by the United Nations and human rights groups but are backed the centre-right government and the Labor opposition.