Australia's punitive approach to unathorised maritime arrivals has blemished the country's human rights record, the UN Human Rights Council has been told.
The message was delivered by the UN's special rapporteur for the human rights of migrants, who discussed his mission to Australia and Nauru with the council last week in Geneva.
Francois Crépeau told the council he witnessed first-hand the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted upon migrants in Nauru, including children, for which the Australian government should be held accountable.
He urged Australia to close down its refugee processing centre on Nauru, to repatriate all children and families with children to Australia and to find meaningful resettlement options for all refugees.
In response, the Australian government said it was not appropriate to prepare a one country report in relation to visits to two independent nations.
It said it would continue to support refugee processing capacity on Nauru, but was working with the government of Papua New Guinea to close the Manus Island centre by the end of October.
It said it supports the governments of Nauru and PNG to secure appropriate and durable outcomes for refugees and that it would continue discussions with other countries to expand resettlement options.
Australian has brokered a deal with the United States to resettle up to 1250 of the refugees detained on Nauru and Manus Island, but has declined an offer from New Zealand to resettle 150.
Critics of the offshore detention policy say it could thwart Australia's bid for a seat on the Human Rights Council.