Celebrated Australians want services restored

CANBERRA: A dozen celebrated Australians on Thursday sent an open letter to their government warning that asylum seekers could die at a decommissioned immigration camp in PNG where food, water, power and medical care were cut off more than three weeks ago.

The 12 former Australians of the Year called on Australia to restore basic services to the camp on Manus Island and allow doctors to provide care there as reports emerged of an operation on Thursday to evict the remaining asylum seekers.

“It is inevitable that people will become sick and even die through the lack of basic sanitation, food, water and medical care,” the letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten said.

An Australian of the Year is chosen annually by a government-appointed board to celebrate the achievements and contributions to society of eminent citizens who are regarded as role models for their nation. The signatories span 32 years from 1983 to 2015.

Their intervention follows several street marches in Australian cities condemning Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers in PNG.

The Associated Press

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