Transfield Services, an Australian company that helps run refugee camps on two Pacific islands, denied claims that they were abusing refugees and brushed off calls to end their contracts.
Transfield Services chief executive Grame Hunt said the company had "zero tolerance" for abuse by its staff, Channel News Asia reported.
Transfield has no plans to leave the camps on Nauru and Manus island, chairman Diane Smith-Gander said at the company's annual meeting Wednesday, which at least two protesters disrupted before they were ejected, the Sydney Morning Herald said. As many as 100 more protesters rallied outside the meeting in Sydney.
The company's 20-month, 1.2 billion Australian dollar ($860 million) contract ends this month and it's in talks for a 5-year, 2.7 billion Australian dollar extension, Channel News Asia said.
Australia received 60,000 refugees from 2010 to 2014, by far the most of any country outside Europe and the U.S., according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Most of them come by boat from from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran and Myanmar, where they claim they were in danger of violence or persecution, according to the BBC.
The politically-sensitive issue -- many Australians oppose giving the refugees asylum, while others say the country should, or protest alleged conditions and abuses in the camps -- came under fire again after a Somali woman said she was raped in Nauru, Channel News Asia said.
On Tuesday, the Philippines rejected a plan for it to take the refugees unless they are transiting to other countries, even if it was tied to Australian financial aid, Sydney Morning Herald reported. Cambodia turned down a similar proposal, the Herald said.