Refugees On Nauru And Manus Island Will Be Settled In The United States
What will President Trump have to say about this?
Refugees currently imprisoned in Australia’s offshore detention centrse on Manus Island and Nauru will be assessed for resettlement in the United States. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed the “one-off” deal this morning, while reaffirming the government’s position that unauthorised boat arrivals will never be settled in Australia and asserting that “Australia’s border protection policy has not changed.”
“I can now confirm that the government has now reached a further third party resettlement arrangement,” Mr. Turnbull told reporters. “The agreement is with the United States. It is a one-off agreement. It will not be repeated. It is only available to those currently in the regional processing centres. It will not be available to any persons seeking to reach Australia in the future.”
The deal was also confirmed by US Secretary of State John Kerry. “We in the United States have agreed to consider referrals from UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] on refugees now residing in Nauru and in Papua New Guinea,” he told reporters in New Zealand.
Refugees on Nauru who refuse to resettle or return to their country of origin will remain on the island. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that the government was in the “final stages of negotiations with Nauru for 20 year visas.”
“The 20-year visa arrangement will also apply to new arrivals,” he said. “Let that be a very clear message to all people that you will not step foot on Australian soil.”
The deal comes two months after it was revealed that Australia would start accepting refugees from camps in Costa Rica. At the time the government denied that the arrangement was part of a swap with the United States.
Mr. Turnbull said that priority would be given to “women, children and families” but refused to speculate on a timeline. He would not confirm whether he had spoken with President-elect Trump about the arrangement, telling reporters that “we deal with one administration at a time.”
A recent report by Amnesty International slammed Australia for its policy of offshore detention, and accused the government of pursuing “a deliberate policy to inflict harm on refugees.”
Feature image via Amnesty International.