"Locked up without charge or trial, denied access to their lawyer Jay Williams, tortured, denied adequate medical attention [one man Hamid died from a foot infection] and rather horrifically often denied adequate drinking water," Victoria Martin said about the conditions asylum seekers were facing at the Manus Island detention facility.
The spokesperson urged the international community to intervene in the situation and find a safe resettlement option for the detainees.
Martin described the rights abuse detainees faced as "grotesque," citing numerous violent assaults on them by the police and local residents. According to Martin, Australia has done little to process the detainees' refugee claims, intending to "coerce them to return to their country of origin."
Some of the asylum seekers are currently on a hunger strike, demanding UN intervention and resettlement options in a third country, citing the unbearable conditions of their detention and extreme hostility of the local population toward them. Canberra has scheduled the transfer of several dozen detainees to an insecure location on Manus Island for January 22.