The following is a transcript of what was said by Nai Jit Lam, UNHCR’s Deputy Regional Representative in Canberra (on mission to Manus Island) at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, 21st November 2017. Nai Jit Lam spoke to the briefing by phone.
In October, UNHCR appealed to Australia to stop a humanitarian emergency unfolding on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, where the closure of a so-called Regional Processing Centre on 31 October and imminent discontinuation of critical services and support arrangements threaten safety and well-being of hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers who remain there in very difficult conditions.
Manus Island, along with Nauru have been the focus of Australia’s off-shore processing policy, introduced more than four years ago. Approximately 3,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have been forcibly transferred by Australia to ‘offshore processing’ facilities there since. Of these, some 1,200 remain in Nauru and 900 in Papua New Guinea.