Red Cross to talk Nauru with Aust govt

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In this Sept. 4, 2018, photo, Parnian, 13, right, and her mother Zaha, only their first names given, are pictured in the Nibok refugee settlement on Nauru. Parnian has been stuck on this tiny island for nearly five years now. She spends her days sleeping and watching movies, avoiding the local schools where refugees are often bullied. (Jason Oxenham/Pool Photo via AP)

Concerns about Australia's treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru will be raised when the head of the International Red Cross visits Canberra this week.

International Committee for the Red Cross president Peter Maurer will confidentially report on the situation on Manus Island and Nauru, where Australia has sent asylum seekers who arrived by boat.

"We share our findings confidentially with the respective authorities in Australia and we will certainly do that when I arrive in Canberra," Mr Maurer told AAP ahead of the visit.

"I just want to assure the Australian public that the humane treatment of detainees there, of those who are held in those facilities, the humanitarian concern for their medical, physical as well as psychological well being is at the core of our interest.

"We will certainly pursue and make recommendations on that behalf to the Australian government."

Mr Maurer will also talk to Australian authorities about trends in global wars, including how long they now drag out.

"It's striking that ICRC's presence in our 15 largest operations today is an average of 35 years," he said.

"We have been created as an emergency operation and organisation ... (but) these conflicts last forever."

Mr Maurer says armed conflicts are also fragmenting, with groups with "fuzzy" political aims increasingly prominent.

In the war-torn city of Taiz in Yemen, the Red Cross found almost 40 armed groups claim chunks of territory.

"If you want to negotiate a humanitarian space then this is a big challenge," Mr Maurer said.

The Red Cross is also operating in Myanmar, but Mr Maurer says a "tricky" political situation makes it difficult to do the necessary humanitarian work.

"At the present moment I must say we are happy for what we are able to do, but we are eager that other international actors will also be able to operate in Rakhine state," he said.

With images from wars and conflicts now flooding social media, Mr Maurer said Australians who want to help can volunteer their time or donate money to the Red Cross.

He also urged Australians to support governments giving money to international aid organisations.

"I know this is a delicate issue, politics is normally local and national," he said.

"People always have the impression that too much money is handed out for international concerns, international problems, but these problems will haunt you at home if you don't deal with them abroad."

© AAP 2018