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Diego Garcia asylum seekers face arbitrary detention: UN inspectors

Tamil asylum seekers awaiting to be relocated to a third country from a remote British territory in the Indian Ocean have alleged sexual harassment and abuse, according to a draft report from the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, which sent a team of inspectors to Diego Garcia in November. All of the alleged perpetrators were other asylum seekers. The report also pointed to a general deterioration of mental health in the camp, along with poor living conditions that amount to arbitrary detention. Since September 2022, The New Humanitarian has published a series of exclusive reports about asylum seekers in the camp, which is fenced off within the joint US-UK military base on the island. In March 2023, we reported on how five who had attempted suicide on Diego Garcia were sent to Rwanda for medical treatment. Three have since asked to be relocated, claiming that abuses continued there and that the UK is still failing to protect them.

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