I arrived in a Pacific Island Country and I wish to claim asylum. Can UNHCR in Canberra assist me?
If you have arrived in a Pacific Island Country and you require further information on the process of claiming asylum, please contact the UNHCR Regional Representation in Canberra.
In relation to asylum-seekers who are transferred from Australia to Nauru or Papua New Guinea please see the below.
I am an asylum-seeker who has been transferred from Australia to Papua New Guinea or Nauru. Can UNHCR in Canberra assist me?
The Governments of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Nauru are signatories to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. UNHCR has a supervisory role regarding the implementation of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees by those Governments.
UNHCR is not a party to the bilateral transfer arrangements between the Governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea, nor between the Governments of Australia and Nauru, and UNHCR is not operationally involved in the assessment of refugee claims of asylum-seekers transferred through those arrangements. The responsibility for the care and protection of asylum-seekers and refugees transferred from Australia to Papua New Guinea or Nauru lies with the authorities of the States involved. This includes responsibility for the physical and mental health and welfare of asylum-seekers and refugees, for the processing of asylum claims and for finding durable solutions for those who are found to be refugees.
UNHCR is not a party to the proposed bilateral arrangements between the Governments of Australia and the United States to relocate refugees currently held in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. The full details of the agreement are not yet known, and UNHCR is not operationally involved.
The proposed arrangement reflects a much-needed, long-term solution for some refugees who have been held in Nauru and Papua New Guinea for over three years and who remain in a precarious situation. It is on this basis that UNHCR will endorse referrals made from Australia to the United States, on a one-off, good offices, humanitarian basis, in light of the acute humanitarian situation. UNHCR’s endorsement of these referrals under the humanitarian imperative does not alter Australia’s obligations under international law, including the right to seek asylum irrespective of the mode of arrival.
Unfortunately, UNHCR is not in a position to assist you directly, but can address concerns raised with relevant government authorities and service providers. UNHCR, however, recommends that you also direct enquiries relating to your situation to the relevant government authorities and service providers in Papua New Guinea or Nauru.
I am an asylum-seeker who has been transferred to Nauru or Papua New Guinea and I wish to make a complaint about the conditions of my detention. Can UNHCR assist me?
UNHCR is not in the position to investigate individual complaints regarding the conditions of a person’s detention.
UNHCR has a supervisory role regarding the implementation of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. As part of this supervisory role, UNHCR visited the detention facilities at Nauru and Papua New Guinea to monitor their compliance with international standards. Read UNHCR’s monitoring reports.
You may wish to contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman regarding your concerns. Contact details for the Commonwealth Ombudsman are as follows:
- Phone:1300 362 072 (calls from mobile phones at mobile phone rates)
- Fax: (02) 6276 0123
- SMS: 0413 COM OMB (0413 266 662) (standard carrier rates apply)
- Email: [email protected]
- Postal: GPO Box 442, CANBERRA ACT 2601
You may also consider contacting the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Complaint Handling Section. Contact details for the AHRC are as follows:
- Phone: 1300 656 419 (local call) or (02) 9284 9888
- TTY: 1800 620 241 (toll free)
- Fax : (02) 9284 9611
- Email : [email protected]