Australia has duty to take care of asylum seekers in PNG, U.N. says

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 03, 2017 6:59 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations human rights office called on Australia on Friday to restore food, water and health services to some 600 interned refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea, which the government cut off three days ago.

The detainees in the Manus Island Center have defied attempts by Australia and Papua New Guinea to close the camp, saying they fear violent reprisals from the local community if they are moved to other "transit centers".

U.N. rights spokesman Rupert Colville decried the "unfolding humanitarian emergency" at Manus Island and urged Canberra to transfer the men to the mainland to assess their asylum claims.

"We repeat our overall concerns about Australian offshore processing centers which are unsustainable, inhumane and contradictory to its human rights obligations," Colville told a Geneva news briefing.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Larry King)