TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - "We have been visiting Manus Island several times over the last couple of years, we have reported on the very dire conditions in these centers. It’s now really high time to bring an end to this unconscionable human suffering,” United Nations Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk at the UNHCR told a news briefing in Geneva on Friday.
Stressing that the refugees are in "a very vulnerable state with not much hope in sight," Turk also urged the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea to exercise restraint and to refrain from using violence and to find a solution for those who have been in the processing center for years.
Some 600 men are living in squalid conditions in the detention facility on Manus Island.
It has been more than ten days since they have barricaded themselves there.
Australian authorities abandoned the detention center on October 31, citing a PNG court ruling that the facility is illegal. Water, food, and power services to the site were then cut.
The asylum seekers there say they worry about violent reprisals from the local community if they are moved to other "transit centers."
The PNG Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal to restore those services because it said such services were already available at alternative accommodation that has been designated for the asylum seekers.
Turk’s remarks come just hours before a Saturday deadline for the refugees to leave or be forced out.
Bowing to pressure from the PNG government, nearly 20 asylum seekers reportedly left the camp for one of the transit centers on Friday.