3 February 2017
UNHCR is gravely concerned by the forced return of an Iranian refugee from Fiji to Papua New Guinea today.
The UN Refugee Agency had sought assurances from the Government of Fiji this week that he would have access to Fiji’s national asylum procedures, given his stated intention to seek asylum.
All asylum-seekers are entitled to have their claims for refugee status considered fairly and in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention, to which Fiji is signatory.
UNHCR deeply regrets that interventions to prevent the refugee’s forced return were not successful, and is profoundly concerned for his welfare. Further information is being sought from the Governments of both Fiji and Papua New Guinea at this time.
UNHCR has long called for refugees and asylum-seekers currently in Papua New Guinea to be moved to humane conditions outside of the country. Equally, UNHCR has urged that no refugees or asylum-seekers should be returned there.
We urge the Government of Papua New Guinea to ensure that the refugee is treated in accordance with international human rights law and standards.