SYDNEY – The United Nations (UN) says the tense “days-long stand-off” between Australian authorities and refugees calls for urgent attention before it turns chaotic.
The UN has labelled events happening at an Australian detention centre in Papua New Guinea as a ‘humanitarian emergency’; saying authorities should take action before chaos looms.
Although a number of transition centres were built to provide better accommodation for refugees, they have refused to move in saying they feared for their safety from locals who doesn’t want them.
Problems started when the Manus Island camp which was set up to hold and process asylum-seekers under Australia’s hash immigration policy was deemed unconstitutional by the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court leading to its closure on Tuesday.
Although water and electricity have been cut, at least 600 men are refusing to vacate the camp saying they will never leave until the government put structures to ensure their safety from locals.
In a statement, the UN said, “UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today reiterates its call to Australia to stop a humanitarian emergency unfolding on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.”
Reports say refugees at the camp are using garbage bins to store water so as to sustain themselves for the time being. Additional reports say refugees are digging the ground to find water.