SYDNEY Feb 21 An investigation into deadly
clashes this week at an immigration detention centre in Papua
New Guinea will examine possible misconduct by private security
contractors, Australia's immigration minister said on Friday.
One asylum seeker was killed and more than 60 were injured
during riots at a facility on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea
that houses asylum seekers as part of Prime Minister Tony
Abbott's tough policies to deter them from coming to Australia.
Several detainees allege they were set upon with makeshift
weapons by Papua New Guinea police and PNG employees of
Britain's G4S, the world's biggest security group, which
is responsible for security at the facility.
"I wish to stress that the review will look closely at any
actions of those contracted to provide services at the centre in
a safe and secure manner," Immigration Minister Scott Morrison
told reporters in Canberra.
Australia uses detention centres at Manus Island and another
on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru to process would-be refugees
sent there after trying to get to Australia, often in unsafe
boats after paying people smugglers in Indonesia.
The number of asylum seekers reaching Australia pales in
comparison with other countries but it is a polarising political
issue that also stokes tension with neighbouring Indonesia over
border policies that have been criticised by the United Nations
and international human rights groups.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has said the Manus
Island camp should be shut because it fails to provide "safe and
humane conditions of treatment in detention".
Morrison said the riot began when detainees forced their way
out of the centre. However, refugee advocates said it was
triggered when Manus Island residents, G4S employees and PNG
police stormed the facility, attacking the asylum seekers.
In a statement on Wednesday, G4S said that it was taking the
allegations seriously and supported an independent investigation
into the disturbances.
"G4S is concerned by allegations that Papua New Guinea
nationals working for G4S may have been involved in the violence
against transferees on Manus Island," it said.
G4S recently lost a tender to continue providing services at
the facility, which will be taken over as soon as this month by
Australian firm Transfield Services Ltd. Transfield
runs the detention centre on Nauru.
G4S has a chequered recent history. In 2012, it failed to
provide enough staff for the London Olympics, and has since been
involved in problems with an electronic tagging contract in
Britain and unrest at prisons it has run in South Africa and