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Australian government to find humane solutions for refugees in Manus Island

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FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters)
FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters). VOA
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The U.N. refugee agency is calling on the Australian government to find humane solutions for hundreds of refugees it has abandoned in a precarious situation on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

UNHCR accuses the Australian government of shirking its responsibilities to care for and protect some 800 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

It says the situation has become more precarious for the refugees since the government closed its so-called offshore processing facility at the end of October. Over the past four weeks, it notes, refugees who were moved to three new accommodation sites have been attacked several times. The worst case involved three people armed with machetes and an axe.

UNHCR spokeswoman, Cecile Pouilly, says local hostility and resentment against the refugees is high and growing. She told VOA the Australian authorities must resolve this critical situation.

“We are talking here about people who have suffered extreme trauma and now are feeling so insecure in these places where they are staying. There are many victims of torture. People who have been deeply traumatized have been detained, having no idea what is going to happen next to them. I think this mental issue, this psychological issue is a major one,” Pouilly said.

A recent medical report commissioned by UNHCR finds the cumulative effect of uncertainty about their future is causing a deterioration in the mental and physical health of the refugees.

It warns cessation of services, substandard living and hygiene conditions and inadequate medical care are increasing violence and self-harm among the refugees. (VOA)

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HIV Diagnose In The LGBTQ Community Goes Down In Australia: Study

The declines were attributed to higher coverage of HIV testing and treatment in the country -- two important strategies.

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Queensland, HIV
FILE - A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

HIV diagnoses in Australia have hit a five-year low, with a significant drop among homosexual and bisexual men, latest figures from a major study released on Monday said.

“The good news from the report is there’s been a seven per cent decline in HIV diagnoses in the past five years, with 953 diagnoses in 2017, which compares to over 1,000 in previous years,” Professor Rebecca Guy from the University of New South Wales said here

“What’s interesting this year is the decline has not been equal across all populations,” she said.

HIV
School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

The figures involving heterosexuals have increased by 10 per cent in the last five years, Xinhua news agency reported. While those among indigenous population were also twice those of the non-indigenous ones.

The declines were attributed to higher coverage of HIV testing and treatment in the country — two important strategies, she added.

Also Read: Queensland in Australia To Combat Diseases And Deaths Caused By Climate-Change

“The key message is, for people living with HIV, increasing tendency for more frequent testing must become “an established norm”, Associate Professor Limin Mao added. (IANS)

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