Under a controversial policy, Australia has detained asylum seekers who arrive by boat in camps on Manus Island and Nauru, a small Pacific nation.
Australia shut down the Manus Island centre, which held only men, after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional.
Image captionPNG officials removed about 50 men from the centre on Thursday
The UN’s refugee agency said on Thursday it was troubled by reports of forcible removals but could not independently verify the allegations because its staff had been denied access to the centre.
It has previously said a majority of detainees on Manus Island have refugee status.
About 600 asylum seekers had initially refused to leave the camp over fears they would be attacked in the local community, where their presence is a cause of tension. They endured squalid conditions after food, water and electricity were cut off.
On Friday, Mr Dutton said the men had moved to secure transit centres on Manus Island where food and medical services were available.
However, the UN’s refugee agency said on Tuesday that the alternative housing remained “under construction”, was inadequately secured, and lacked “the most basic services” including medical care.
Media caption‘They are destroying everything’
Where to now for the refugees?
Canberra has steadfastly ruled out allowing the men into Australia, arguing it would prompt further human trafficking and lead to deaths at sea.
Mr Dutton said refugee advocates should “desist from holding out false hope to these men that they will ever be brought to Australia”.
Refugees had been given the option of permanent resettlement in PNG, applying to live in Cambodia, or requesting a transfer to Nauru. Advocates say few have taken up these options.
The US has agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru. However, it may ultimately accept fewer than that.
New Zealand has offered to take 150 refugees from the PNG centre, but Canberra has rebuffed this proposal – arguing it would effectively be a “back door” to Australia.