Australia Must Act To Avert 'tragedy' At Migrant Centres: UN

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Australia must act to avert 'tragedy' at migrant centres: UN

Australia must act immediately to prevent further "tragedy" from unfolding at the migrant detentions centres on Papua New Guinea and Nauru, the UN said Friday, renewing its harsh criticism of Canberra.

Geneva, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 12th Oct, 2018 ) :Australia must act immediately to prevent further "tragedy" from unfolding at the migrant detentions centres on Papua New Guinea and Nauru, the UN said Friday, renewing its harsh criticism of Canberra.

The health situation of those being held at the two sites is "collapsing" and Australia is failing to medically evacuate all those in need of urgent care, UN refugee agency spokeswoman Catherine Stubberfield told reporters in Geneva.

One adolescent girl remains on Nauru despite having "doused herself in petrol before attempting to set herself alight and pulling chunks of hair from her head," she added.

"UNHCR does not agree with the government of Australia's assertion that such cases are solely 'matters for Papua New Guinea and Nauru,'" Stubberfield added.

She underscored that Australia "designed, financed and managed" the offshore migrant processing system.

"Australia remains responsible under International Law for those who have sought its protection." Canberra says its harsh policy of sending migrants to offshore centres is necessary to stop refugees and people smugglers from attempting the treacherous boat journey to Australia.

Since the current policy was introduced in 2013, an estimated 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been transferred to Papua New Guinea and Nauru, according to the UN.

About 800 are still on Nauru and 650 on Papua New Guinea.

Earlier this month, medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) called for all detainees to be removed from Nauru as those held there were in a "complete state of hopelessness and despair".

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