UN concern at Australia's PNG boat people plan
SYDNEY (AFP) - The United Nations on Friday said it was "troubled" by Australia's decision to send asylum-seekers arriving by boat to Papua New Guinea given conditions there failed to adequately protect refugees.
In it's first assessment of the hardline policy announced a week ago by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said it was concerned greater numbers of asylum-seekers could be sent to the poor and developing nation.
"UNHCR is troubled by the current absence of adequate protection standards and safeguards for asylum-seekers and refugees in Papua New Guinea," it said in a statement.
Australia resumed sending asylum-seekers offshore to PNG's Manus Island and the Pacific state of Nauru in 2012 in a bid to deter record numbers of asylum-seekers arriving by boat. Hundreds have drowned making the perilous journey.