November 24, 2017 / 9:33 AM / 20 days ago

UNHCR decries PNG police removal of refugees, demands protection

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR on Friday denounced the use of force by Papua New Guinean police to remove refugees and asylum seekers from a centre on Manus island and called for them to be protected.

Papua New Guinean police cleared the remaining asylum-seekers from a shuttered Australian-run detention complex on Friday, ending a three-week protest which started with some 600 people surviving on rain water and smuggled food and supplies.

“The beating of refugees and asylum-seekers by uniformed officers with metal poles, shown by footage released today, is both shocking and inexcusable,” UNHCR said in a statement. Several refugees were “severely injured” in the raid and needed medical treatment, it added, warning of a “grave risk” of further deterioration of the situation on the island.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tom Miles

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