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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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Data Sharing Leads Mark Zuckerberg To Public Hearing

Zuckerberg will be invited to appear before the PJCIS in a public hearing

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Data Sharing Troubled Mark Zuckerberg, He Will Be Summoned
Data Sharing Troubled Mark Zuckerberg, He Will Be Summoned, Flickr

Labor MP Anthony Byrne, deputy chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), said Zuckerberg owes an explanation to Australian Facebook users, reports Efe news.

“It is vital that Facebook explains its data sharing partnership with firms such as Huawei. We need to protect the data of over 15 million Facebook users in Australia,” Byrne posted on his Facebook page on Thursday.

“If need be, Mr Zuckerberg will be invited to appear before the PJCIS in a public hearing to explain himself to our committee and the Australian people.”

It was revealed on Wednesday that Facebook had admitted giving Huawei and three other Chinese companies – Lenovo, OPPO and TCL – specialised access to user data.

Maurice Levy & Mark Zukerberg
Maurice Levy & Mark Zukerberg, flickr

Also read: Apple requested zero personal data deals Facebook CEO Tim Cook says

In recent years, US senators and national security officials have warned of the possibility of the Chinese government having access to Huawei servers. (IANS)

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