UNHCR calls for calm amid reports of forced removal of refugees on Manus Island

Papua New Guinea. UNHCR supports asylum-seekers' struggle for fair treatment

The Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, November 2014.  © UNHCR/Vlad Sokhin

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is troubled by reports to our staff on Manus Island of force being used to remove refugees and asylum seekers from the former Regional Processing Centre (RPC).

UNHCR has been given assurances that excessive force has not been used, but cannot independently confirm as staff have not been granted full access to the facility.

“UNHCR recalls Australia's obligation to take full responsibility and provide effective protection, safety and lasting solutions for all refugees and asylum-seekers in cooperation with the Papua New Guinean authorities,” said UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk.

“We urge both governments to engage in constructive dialogue, to de-escalate the current tensions and work on urgent lasting solutions to their plight.”

The UNHCR team on Manus Island is continuing to verify the facts and establish the number of refugees and asylum seekers who remain at the RPC, as well as at other locations to which they have now been transferred. UNHCR is in contact with other humanitarian agencies and organisations to ensure medical care can be provided to anyone who may have suffered injuries.

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