UNHCR: Asylum Seekers Living in Arbitrary Detention

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A UNHCR Report has found that asylum seekers who had been transferred from Australia to processing centres at Nauru and Manus Island were living in arbitrary detention, in conditions that do not meet international standards of treatment.

UNHCR’s Director ofInternational Protection, Volker Türk, urged Australia not to neglectthe protection needs, safety and dignity ofthe individuals affected.

 

UNHCR Regional Representttative Richard Towle said a number of deeply troubling shortcomings were identiflied in common at both centres.

 

He urged all three States involved to considerthe findings and recommendations inthe reports.

 

He said UNHCR was deeply troubled to observe thatthe current policies, operational approaches and harsh physical conditions atthe centres, do not meet international standards, and impact very profoundly onthe men, women and children housedthere.

 

Towle saidthey constitute mandatory detention that is not compatible with international law,they do not provide a fair and efficient system for assessing refugee claims, do not provide safe and humane conditions of treatment in detention, and do not provide for adequate and timely solutions for recognized refugees.

 

At both centres,the psycho-social well-being of vulnerable people – including survivors of torture and trauma and unaccompanlied children – is likely to be an issue of growing concern.

 

UNHCR also called on all three States not to transfer children, particularly those who are unaccompanlied, unless and untilthere has been a marked improverment in conditions in both centres.

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