Manus Asylum Centre Security Staff Accused Of Harassment

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G4S unaware of alleged problems raised by local MP

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 20, 2013) – The firm providing security at the Australian Government's Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea, G4S, says it will investigate claims off-duty staff have been harassing local women.

Manus Island MP Ronnie Knight raised the claims in PNG Parliament and called for an immediate response from Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

"They have been getting drunk in town and other areas. Getting on public motor vehicles in a drunk condition and on the way to the base, forcing the driver to stop so they can get off relive themselves in front of women and children and also they have been harassing women on the buses on the way to the base," Mr Knight said.

He told Pacific Beat he had also received letters from constituents about one member of staff who had allegedly been harassing female students at local schools.

"One certain fellow has been driving around making obscene gestures to the girls," he said.

Mr Knight says there have also been claims the man has been trying to lure the girls into his car.

"I'm not really sure of the total scope of the whole thing but when I do get home after this session [of parliament] I shall be making this an issue that I will be pushing forward and I'll get the police to make some arrests on that." he said.

G4S unaware of allegations

Mr Knight says victims of the alleged harassment have complained to police but seen no action and he wants to see the government step in.

"The Prime Minister is taking this very seriously and he's going to take this up with his counterparts in Australia and with immigration... and also with G4S," he said.

In a statement to the ABC, G4S says it is "very concerned" by the allegations, but was not aware of them before they were raised in parliament.

"We take matters such as this very seriously and we have commenced a full internal investigation into the allegations. We further will comply with any investigation by the Manus Island police into the allegations." it said.

The firm says it does not tolerate harassment of any kind from its staff.

Alcohol ban mooted for detention centre

Mr Knight says many of the harassment claims involve drunk staff.

"If you look at all these situations, the main catalyst is alcohol," he said.

He has asked the PNG Prime Minister to make the detention centre at Manus Island's Lombrum Naval Base an alcohol-free zone.

He says making the base a dry area might help stop some of the incidents.

"I believe that pretty soon there will be a military guard on the base to stop anybody who is inebriated getting on the base at all." he said.

Mr Knight says G4S staff who choose to drink off the base will be subject to the laws of the land.

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