UN agency raises concern about detention centre


UN refugee agency UNHCR has serious concerns about “deteriorating conditions” at the Manus regional processing centre as authorities seek to relocate people to Lorengau or elsewhere in PNG.
The announcement of the closure of the centre in the absence of appropriate alternatives is causing acute distress among refugees and asylum seekers, it said.
UNHCR regional representation in Canberra in a media statement said it was deeply saddened by the tragic death of a young refugee on Monday, which it said highlighted the precarious situation for vulnerable people on Manus Island.
“The planned closure of the centre, along with the announced withdrawal of current medical care, torture and trauma support and security services by October, is exacerbating a highly stressful situation for the 773 people who remain on Manus” the statement said.
“Many fear for their safety outside the centre, particularly in the wake of several violent incidents in recent years.
“To prevent further tragedies and an escalation of the crisis, the planned closure of the Manus Island regional processing centre must only take place in the context of continued critical services, and in line with Australia’s ongoing responsibility for the refugees and asylum seekers it has transferred to Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
“Any further reduction of fundamental support for refugees and asylum seekers transferred by Australia to Papua New Guinea would add to the serious health and security risks of people who have been in detention over the last four years.”
UNHCR renewed its call for Australia to urgently find viable, humane solutions outside  PNG and Nauru for those remaining under offshore processing arrangements.

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