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18 Nov 2017 description

Updated Sat at 11:37pm

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called for the Federal Government to allow independent doctors and other health experts to help more than 400 asylum seekers languishing inside the recently-closed detention centre on Manus Island.

The asylum seekers have shut themselves inside the Australian-run Manus Island Centre for the past 18 days, defying attempts by Australia and Papua New Guinea to close it in a standoff the United Nations describes as a "looming humanitarian crisis".

10 Nov 2017 description

Asylum seekers and refugees inside the Manus Island detention centre are "extremely scared" as workers tear down the fences around the compound and a deadline for them to be forcibly evicted approaches.

Key points:

12 Dec 2016 description

The ConversationAlexandra Wake, Senior lecturer, RMIT University

Disclosure Statement: Alexandra Wake is an academic who maintains a career as a freelance journalist. Her last assignment for ABC Radio Australia was more than two years ago.

13 Jun 2016 description

By James Hancock

Five years ago, at the age of just 16, Arif Hazara left behind his family in Afghanistan and made the dangerous journey by boat to Australia to escape violence and persecution.

The third-year university student is among 30 people from across the globe attending a UNHCR meeting in Geneva this week aimed at giving young refugees and asylum seekers a voice.

Mr Hazara could not speak English when he arrived in the country in 2011.

Now aged 21, he is completing a university degree in Melbourne while working as an assistant accountant.

16 May 2016 description

Asylum seekers stuck in Greece are finding it difficult to apply for asylum under a system that uses Skype as part of the application process.

The only way the tens of thousands of asylum seekers can make an appointment to seek family reunification, relocation to another European country or asylum in Greece is via a digital call.

31 Oct 2015 description

Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs criticises moves to resettle refugees on Papua New Guinea, describing the country as struggling.

Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs has criticised moves to resettle refugees on Papua New Guinea, describing the country as struggling.

PNG announced earlier this month that it would begin resettling processed refugees from within Manus Island, three years after the detention centre opened.

15 Jul 2015 description

The Federal Government's foreign aid budget cuts have forced a coalition of aid groups behind a major Australian-funded health and sanitation project in Africa to ask other countries to keep it alive.

Delegates from around the world will meet at a UN development conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week.

They will discuss ways to achieve sustainable development goals, including ending poverty and achieving food security worldwide by 2030.

08 Apr 2015 description

By political correspondent Greg Jennett

Australian aid agencies have begun the first wave of cuts to overseas projects, as they start to feel the effects of the Government's budget decreases to foreign aid.

Plan Australia and World Vision have settled on more than a dozen projects, worth around $6.5 million between them, after negotiations with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade over the foreign aid cuts announced in last December's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

16 Feb 2015 description

Pacific health officials are attending too many meetings in return for aid and not enough time "doing their jobs", a policy expert says.

Researchers and policymakers from across the region have gathered for a two-day Australasian aid conference in Canberra.

Co-speaker Joel Negin, senior lecturer in international health at the University of Sydney, said the conference has heard how the high volume of meetings in the Pacific were placing a huge burden on health departments.

26 Dec 2014 description

It's been 10 years since countries right across the Indian Ocean were devastated by a tsunami, which had been triggered by a massive undersea earthquake.

In the time since then, the Pacific region has also had its fair share of tsunamis - including one which killed more than 100 people across Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga in 2009.

But nothing can quite compare scale of the Boxing Day Tsunami, which is believed to have killed around 230,000 people in 14 countries.

Indonesia was the hardest hit by the disaster.

08 Sep 2014 description

Updated 8 September 2014, 10:16 AEST

There's no doubt with experts from one hundred countries in Samoa, the SIDS conference was a melting pot for an exchange of ideas and initiatiives.

When it comes to disaster risk management, the open exchange of ideas and strategies can save lives in small island states.

Launched in 2004, the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative has served as a knowledge platform to boost disaster response and cooperation in the Caribbean.

08 Sep 2014 description

Updated 8 September 2014, 10:15 AEST

One of the themes of the UN Small Island Developing States conference was climate change and while people are familiar with the issue of rising sea-levels, few connect the problem of rising temperatures and their impact on the spread of communicable diseases.

Red Cross climate change specialist Rebecca McNaught says we're already seeing the effects of temperature rise on health in the Pacific.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Rebecca McNaught, climate change specialist for the Red Cross

05 Sep 2014 description

The people of the Pacific Islands are all too used to being displaced by natural disasters, but the looming impact of climate change may result in some displacements becoming permanent in the not too distant future. .

Pacific partnerships could help people displaced by climate change (Credit: ABC)

Should that happen, the unfortunate victims of the rising waves don't want to be stigamised.

05 Sep 2014 description

Pacific Island communities who may be forced to flee rising sea levels say they want to be able to migrate with dignity.

They have long been described as climate refugees: the hundreds of thousands of people living on low-lying Pacific islands who may be forced to migrate if rising sea levels leave their homes uninhabitable.

But it is a term Pacific leaders say is loaded with political connotations and does not reflect the true dimensions of the problem.

28 Aug 2014 description

Samoa's prime minister has issued an impassioned plea on behalf all Pacific nations for more help to cope with climate change and he has called on Australia, to lift its focus from the federal budget and lead the way.

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31 Jul 2014 description

A new mobile app is being launched in the Pacific to help combat human trafficking.

The app will provide information, translated laws and access to support services and contacts.

Suzanna Tiapula is an American lawyer who's worked in Hawaii and American Samoa. She heads the Pacific Institute, an organisation fighting abuse and violence in the region.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Suzanna Tiapula, head, Pacific Institute: Navigating Systems of Justice, Peace and Health

16 Jul 2014 description


Village life in the Pacific may seem idyllic to some but it can be pretty tough for those living a basically subsistence existence.

It's being made even tougher by the effects of climate change.

Finland is helping to fund a project by SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme to try to reduce the vulnerabilities faced by village people.

04 Jun 2014 description

Listen to the interview

Non-government and government groups in the Pacific have been working hard on a region-wide Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development.

All key stakeholders and national agencies in the fields of weather, climate services, climate change and disaster risk management have been meeting in Suva to have their final input to the latest draft.

03 Jun 2014 description

Three community organisations have received recognition in the inaugural Pacific Innovation and Leadership Award for Resilience known as PILAR, it's a major new award in the Pacific for disaster reduction.

Prizes were handed out at a dinner in Suva last night to Caritas Australia, the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific and the Pacific Disability Forum.

Tim Wilcox, head of the Pacific branch of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, tells Richard Ewart the reasons behind handing out three awards.

29 May 2014 description

The Queensland University of Technology and the Brisbane branch of Friends of the Earth have held a day-long seminar on Climate Change and what it may mean for pre-emptive migration from some of the island nations in the Pacific.

Audio: Call for regional science bodies to work together on climate change

Australia Network's Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney went along for a few of the sessions.