26 Nov 2012

Human Rights Watch joins call to stop transfer of children to Manus

3:02 pm on 26 November 2012

Another international human rights watchdog has added its voice to calls for Australia to halt the transfer of child asylum seekers to Manus Island.

Four children were among nineteen asylum seekers in the first transfer of migrants to the Papua New Guinea island on Wednesday under Canberra's reinstated offshore processing policy.

Human Rights Watch says Australia's policy violates its obligations to children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It also says Australia is putting migrant children's health and lives at risk on Manus which has one of the region's highest rates of malaria.

The group says the policy allows unaccompanied children to be transferred to Manus Island and Nauru without adequate guardianship procedures or legal assistance in place.

The watchdog says Australia should ensure its migration policies protect children's rights instead of taking a punitive approach.