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Startseite Urgent Actions 2014 05 Asylum-seekers at risk of return to Syria
UA 129/14
Papua New Guinea
Abgeschlossen am 30. Juni 2014

Asylum-seekers at risk of return to Syria

AI-Index: ASA 34/001/2014

Five Syrian asylum-seekers held at a detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, are in danger of being returned to their home country, where their lives or freedoms are at risk. Due to ongoing instability and human rights violations occurring in Syria, all Syrians are prima facie entitled to international protection.

The five Syrian asylum-seekers at the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea are being pressured to return home, despite the serious risks to which they would be exposed. War crimes, crimes against humanity and other abuses are taking place across Syria, as a result of which almost half the population has fled their homes. Given this situation, all Syrians are prima facie entitled to international protection.

Since July 2013, any asylum-seeker who reaches Australia by boat is sent to one of several offshore detention centres. The facility located on Manus Island currently accommodates about 1,270 individuals. These highly vulnerable and often traumatized asylum-seekers are being kept in intolerable conditions. Overcrowding, lack of freedom of movement, lack of adequate clothing, poor food quality and poor hygiene and sanitation – either on their own or in combination – breach obligations regarding torture and other ill-treatment. Furthermore, asylum-seekers are not informed about when their claims will be processed and whether they will be resettled in Papua New Guinea or elsewhere, and are being denied access to lawyers. No asylum claims have been processed since these individuals started being detained on Manus Island in August 2013. In February 2014, violence erupted at the facility, resulting in injuries to 147 asylum-seekers and the death of 23-year-old Reza Berati. There are credible claims that after weeks of protesting peacefully, asylum-seekers were attacked by private security guards, local police, and possibly private contractors. No charges have been laid, and neither Australia nor Papua New Guinea has taken any steps to independently investigate the violence. These harsh, humiliating and unsafe conditions are designed to put pressure on people to return to situations where their lives or freedoms would be at risk.

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