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

AFP  |  Geneva 

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

The health situation of those being held at the two sites is "collapsing" and is failing to medically evacuate all those in need of urgent care, UN told reporters in

One adolescent girl remains on 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 and Nauru,'" Stubberfield added.

She underscored that "designed, financed and managed" the

"Australia remains responsible under International Law for those who have sought its protection." 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 and Nauru, according to the UN.

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

Earlier this month, medical charity (MSF) called for all detainees to be removed from as those held there were in a "complete state of hopelessness and despair".

That call came after had ordered MSF to cease its work treating asylum-seekers and locals suffering from mental health problems.

The UN has repeatedly urged Australia to accept an offer from to take in those held in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

UNHCR has previously made clear that it does fully understand Australia's motivation for persistently declining New Zealand's offer.

"In the absence of any other alternatives, UNHCR appeals for all refugees and asylum-seekers to be immediately brought from Papua New Guinea and Nauru to Australia, to avert further serious harm and loss of life," Stubberfield said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, October 12 2018. 21:05 IST