18 Dec 2012

Australia rejects UNHCR view on Canberra's Nauru camp

2:29 pm on 18 December 2012

The Australian Government is dismissing criticism of its asylum seeker camp on Nauru and says the inmates are receiving appropriate care.

Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called conditions in the camp harsh and said it was not up to international protection standards.

Earlier Amnesty International Australia described the camp, where the inmates are packed into closely pitched tents, as a recipe for disaster.

But Australia's parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, Richard Marles, says the asylum seekers' circumstances will improve once permanent facilities are built, but in the context of what is there at the moment appropriate care is being provided.

"Food, water, shelter, medical care, activities are being provided on a daily basis so we are confident that circumstances in those facilities are appropriate by international standards, but again I reiterate we have got to see all this in the context of a set of proposals which are aimed at stopping death at sea and that is our most important objective here."