Refugee agency raises concern over asylum seekers


THE United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says most of the 600 asylum seekers refusing to leave the closed regional processing centre will not find adequate accommodation elsewhere on Manus.
The UNHCR found that the East Lorengau Regional Transit Centre was only intended as a temporary accommodation and had limited capacity. It also found that there was no security fencing at the West Lorengau Haus or Hillside Hausu.
The UNHCR urged the Australian government to work with the PNG authorities to immediately de-escalate the “tense and unstable situation”.
Lawyer Ben Lomai, representing the asylum seekers in various cases in court, agreed with the report.
He said his legal team was conducting its own investigation into the centre which was closed down last week.
The UNHCR said refugees and asylum seekers still living there “have resorted to storing water in garbage bins and building makeshift rain catchment systems.” UNHCR staff have spoken with local community leaders and landowners who described the settlement of refugees and asylum seekers as “inappropriate”.
“Welfare arrangements, including critical torture and trauma counselling services, are insufficient at present for refugees and asylum-seekers on Manus.”