Russell Crowe has slammed the Australian government for decommissioning the refugee detention centre on Manus Island, calling it a "nation's shame". In a series of tweets, the actor voiced his displeasure at a Papua New Guinea court ruling to close down the centre, which would leave hundreds of people destitute and forced to relocate to other sites which are reportedly not ready yet.
"Manus. A Nation's shame. Lives held in limbo. Lives lived in fear & despair. It's f**king disgraceful," the Aussie star wrote on Wednesday, 1 November, in reaction to the court ruling.
Crowe not only criticised the government's move but offered to be part of the solution in a small way. "I've thought about this. I believe I could house and find jobs for six," he added. "I'm sure there'd be other Australians who would do the same."
While the Gladiator hero's efforts to help were commended, getting refugees into the country is going to be the hard part.
"How does he anticipate he will resettle refugees without the necessary visas?" spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told The Australian news website.
More than 600 men have barricaded themselves inside the Papua New Guinea detention centre over concerns for their safety. They are facing food and water shortages and, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, have been drinking water collected in garbage bins.
The United Nations has deemed the situation an "unfolding humanitarian emergency" and criticised Australia for turning its back on the refugees.
On Thursday, 2 November, New Zealand's new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered to take in 150 refugees annually and said she would discuss the issue with her Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull later this week.
"I think anyone would look at a situation like that and see the human face of what is an issue that New Zealand is in the lucky position of not having to struggle with, [as] Australia has," Ardern said. "I am looking forward, though, to having a conversation directly with the Prime Minister on Sunday about some of those issues – and New Zealand's role and view on Manus Island in particular."