Manus issue: UN team gravely concerned

The United Nations country team in Papua New Guinea remains gravely concerned for the welfare of refugees, asylum seekers and other related categories of persons on Manus Island.

“We urge the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea to uphold their obligations under international human rights and refugee laws to respect the basic human rights of all persons concerned,” the team says in a statement.

It is reported that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is monitoring the situation on the ground on Manus Island, and have found that: 

  • Persons currently remaining at the Manus Regional Processing Centre do not have sufficient food, water, electricity, sanitation and security; 
  • No interpreters remain on Manus Island. This means refugees who cannot speak English face challenges in communicating and accessing services; 
  • There are insufficient medical services available for persons who need specialised support, particularly crisis emergency health services and mental health care support. 

“We are aware that there are conflicting reports about the adequate functioning of the newly-constructed accommodation facilities,” says UN.

“The UN system urges the authorities to allow media and international humanitarian actors immediate access to inspect these facilities in full transparency, and to continue to refrain from the use of force against persons remaining in the Regional Processing Centre.

“We stand ready to assist both governments to find a durable and effective solution for those persons acutely affected by the closure of the Centre.”

(The Manus detention centre)

Press release