UN 'Urges' Australia Not To Send Children To Nauru

04/02/2016 11:14 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Fairfax Media

The United Nations claims Australia’s immigration detention policy "contravenes the letter and spirit of international human rights law" and "urged" Australia not to send refugees to Nauru, after the High Court ruled offshore detention can continue.

The international organisation has also claimed "Nauru is not a safe or appropriate environment to send vulnerable people, especially children," and and "reminded" the government about its obligations regarding the rights of children.

The U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a statement after Wednesday's High Court decision -- which effectively cleared the way for 267 refugees currently in on-shore immigration in Australia, including up to 80 children, to be transferred to Nauru -- saying that "the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration when taking any decision concerning children".

"This decision by the High Court greatly concerns us as these children and their families face a great risk in being sent to a place that cannot be considered safe nor adequate," the Committee Chair Benyam Mezmur said.

In an accompanying series of social media posts, the U.N.'s human rights division said "We urge Australia to not transfer 267 people... to Nauru," using the #LetThemStay hashtag which has been used by refugee advocates fighting to keep refugees from being taken to Nauru.

"We are concerned that... Australia’s policy on the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers arriving without prior authorisation, significantly contravenes the letter and spirit of international human rights law," read a post on the United Nations Human Rights Facebook page.

#LetThemStay: We are very concerned about the situation of the 267 people, including up to 80 children, at risk of being...

Posted by United Nations Human Rights on Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The @UNHumanRights Twitter went even further, levelling serious criticism of Australia's use of Nauru as an offshore processing centre.

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