The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says a more humane approach must be taken at the Australian-run asylum seeker camps on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
After its third monitoring visits to the camps, the UNHCR has produced reports that condemn Australia's arbitrary deterrence policy and calls for all three countries involved to make changes.
The Pacific's regional representative for the UNHCR, Richard Towle, says if the deterrence approach continues it will have harsh and punishing impacts on the asylum seekers.
"Ordinary families, children and vulnerable groups will be victimised doubly if the policies and practices remain solely based on deterrence. That's why we think it is very important now to re-calibrate and re-introduce a more humanitarian and humane set of approaches to what is in place in both places, and indeed in Australia."
Richard Towle of the UNHCR