World Bulletin / News Desk
Papua New Guinea is responsible for the human rights of refugees sent to a remote island by Australia, the UN human rights chief has said, as advocates warn the men are living in fear of violence from local residents.
The men have expressed fears for their safety at the centres, and also accused Australian and PNG authorities of not providing them with adequate healthcare.
In a day-long visit to PNG on Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein raised his concerns about the refugees' plight during meetings with the government.
"The government has the responsibility to ensure that while these individuals are on their territory, they have access to their basic necessities and their basic rights, including the right to adequate housing and food," the High Commissioner's spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told AFP Sunday.
Shamdasani added that the High Commissioner had also raised such concerns with Australian officials on a number of occasions publicly and in private meetings.
"He will be following up on the cases of these detainees with Australia as well," she said.
The men were brought to Manus as part of a harsh Australian immigration policy that bars asylum-seekers who try to reach the country by boat from resettling there.
Their refugee applications are processed on Manus or at another remote camp on Nauru, before successful applicants are resettled in the Pacific nations or other countries.
President Donald Trump repeated his call, meanwhile, for arming some of America's teachers and claimed the controversial proposal was increasingly drawing support.
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