Since 2013, Australia has sent asylum seekers who try to reach the country by boat to cramped and dirty offshore processing centers in PNG and Nauru. Male asylum seekers have been transferred to PNG’s Manus Island, while men, women, and children have gone to Nauru. Under a regional resettlement arrangement, those sent to Manus who are recognized as refugees are to be settled in other parts of PNG.

Human Rights Watch found that groups of local young men, often intoxicated and sometimes armed with sticks, rocks, knives, or screwdrivers, have frequently assaulted and robbed refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island. In at least three serious attacks since June, victims required emergency medical attention in Port Moresby or Australia.