UN refugees’ commission slams Aust bid to turn Pacific Solution into a Pacific problem

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THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has condemned how Australia is withdrawing support to refugees and asylum-seekers.
It said it was a “blatant attempt to coerce the most vulnerable (refugees) to return to PNG, Nauru, or other countries of origin”.
The UN agency said the removal of accommodation and financial support for refugees and asylum seekers under its Pacific Solution policy left people at risk of destitution in Australia.
“This equalled the withdrawal of access to basic services such as trauma and torture counselling that would worsen their already dangerous situations,” it said.
It said around 400 refugees and asylum-seekers remained in community detention in Australia, having been transferred from PNG and Nauru because of serious medical and protection concerns.
“Australia has implicitly recognised through these transfers that the conditions there were unacceptable.
“It has not granted these refugees and asylum-seekers the right to work, and most were brought to Australia with acute medical needs.
“To claim that these same people should immediately support themselves financially is unfair and unreasonable.”
It said PNG and Nauru remained unsuitable as places of settlement for refugees and asylum-seekers.
“As a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Australia remains responsible for those who have sought its protection.
“This includes a duty to consider claims for international protection fairly and efficiently, and to provide refugees and asylum-seekers with a minimum standard of living that was humane and dignified.”

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