19 February 2014
One asylum seeker killed and many hurt in violence at Pacific Solution camp
During a riot in a detention camp in Papua New Guinea, one asylum seeker was killed and at least 77 were injured. Accounts as to what caused the riot differ; Australian authorities claim the violence began when detainees forced their way out of the center, but refugee advocates insist it was sparked when local residents and police stormed the facility, attacking the asylum seekers.
The facility is part of Australia’s Pacific Solution on the basis of which Australia processes and detains asylum seekers in centers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. The asylum seekers are sent there after trying to get to Australia, often in unsafe boats and with the help of people smugglers in Indonesia.
A similar incident took place earlier this week when 35 asylum seekers briefly escaped. The continuing unrest in the center on Papua New Guinea quickly drew calls from critics to shut the facility. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had already said in a November 2013 report it failed to provide ‘safe and humane conditions of treatment in detention’.