UN calls on Australia to stop humanitarian crisis at PNG camp
05 November, 2017, 02:00
The United Nations human rights office called on Australia on Friday to restore food, water and health services to about 600 interned refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea, which Canberra cut off three days ago. They include Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Afghans, Iranians, Sri Lankans and other nationalities, and are nearly entirely men.
Steinmeier, who is in the western city of Perth for a German-Australian business conference, said he had been assured that the government was looking at giving "better care and accommodation" to the refugees who have remained in the center. He says Australia must provide support for refugees to integrate, and certainly has a large enough diplomatic presence in Port Moresby to provide adequate assistance.
Around 500 of the men have still not had their asylum claims processed, he said. Below is a cartoon by Eaten Fish, who has been detained on Papua New Guinea for more than four years. "So that's a very long time to sit in effectively a detention centre disguised as a regional processing centre without your case being processed".
"Australia is not and must not be a resettlement option but it is [Prime Minister Malcolm] Turnbull's responsibility to work with other nations on resettlement options", Mr Shorten told the ABC.
"But also we have urged Australia and PNG to de-escalate the situation, resume basic services - water, electricity, medical services as well".
"Australia's policy of deterrence by rescuing people at sea, mistreating them and abandoning them has become a notion of cruelty".
Since it was opened, the Australian-run camp on Manus Island has been under near constant scrutiny and criticism by human rights groups about everything from the poor state of its basic infrastructure to allegations of torture and mismanagement, astonishing rates of trauma and mental illness, and six deaths including one murder by a local resident.
"At the moment hundreds of naked men are lying around me", wrote Boochani.
Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Adam accuses Australia of abandoning them, and hopes New Zealand will offer them sanctuary.
"UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today reiterates its call to Australia to stop a humanitarian emergency unfolding on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea", the organisation said in a statement.
"It's a challenging situation for Australia, they face issues that we don't in New Zealand", he said. "You can't keep political hostages".
Last November, in the waning months of his term, President Barack Obama agreed to resettle up to 1,250 of the asylum-seekers on Manus and Nauru.
New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees in Australia's offshore detention centres was first made in 2013.
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