By Eric Tlozek.
A Nepalese asylum seeker says he is destitute and in hiding after being deported from Papua New Guinea.
The man was “involuntarily removed” from Australia’s offshore detention centre on Manus Island three weeks ago and flown back to Nepal.
He has asked to remain anonymous, saying he fears he will be killed if certain people find out he is back in Nepal.
“I’m still now in hiding somewhere, I can’t go out,” he said.
“If they find me, they should kill me. That is the problem.”
The man was one of two Nepalese asylum seekers deported last month.
He said he did not know he was being deported when he was asked to attend an appointment with immigration officials at the Manus Island detention centre.
“They did not say anything [like] ‘you are going to [be] removed’, they did not say anything before, but after that they take me into custody,” he said.
Immigration Department denies involvement with deportations
Detainees are meant to undergo a Deportation Risk Assessment before they are sent back to their countries of origin.
Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection did not answer questions about whether the Nepalese man had been assessed and was aware of what was happening.
It denied involvement with the deportations and issued a statement saying: “These are matters for the Government of PNG.”
Detainees inside the centre say the deportations have reportedly sparked a rise in the number of unsuccessful asylum seekers accepting cash incentives to return to their countries of origin.
Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian journalist detained on Manus, said 29 asylum seekers from Nepal, Iran, Lebanon and Bangladesh had agreed to be sent back.
They are eligible for a $20,000 cash payment and resettlement assistance, while those who are deported get nothing.
“All of these men signed by their own hand, but the big problem is that all of them were under pressure and threatened by Immigration for a long time,” Mr Boochani said.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection would not say how many men had accepted voluntary return in the past month, but gave figures to the end of January.