Thursday, July 27, 2017 | ePaper

Refugee fears over Australia-US resettlement plan

  • Print


Canberra sends asylum-seekers who try to enter Australia by boat to camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, but the conditions there have been criticised by refugee advocates and medical professionals

AFP, Sydney :
The abrupt departure of American officials from an Australian Pacific island refugee camp has fanned fears among asylum-seekers that plans to resettle them in the US may not go ahead, an activist group said Sunday.
Canberra sends asylum-seekers who try to enter Australia by boat to camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, but the conditions there have been criticised by refugee advocates and medical professionals.
The Australian government struck a deal with Washington under former president Barack Obama to resettle some of those refugees in the US.
But doubts over the arrangement have persisted after President Donald Trump this year reportedly lambasted his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull during a phone call and attacked it as a "dumb deal", before agreeing to go ahead with the proposal.
US Department of Homeland Security officials had been assessing the asylum-seekers at Nauru as part of the arrangement when they abruptly left the island on Friday and Saturday, Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said, days after the US passed its annual 50,000-refugee intake cap.
"They've (the DHS officials) given the people on Nauru no indication that they are coming back," Rintoul told AFP.
About 200 refugees on Nauru have undergone interviews and medical check-ups, while on Manus, some 70 had been through a similar process, Rintoul said.
"People are becoming increasingly doubtful that there is any deal", he added.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Sunday she was confident the deal was still in place, adding that the "matter is progressing as we expected".
"We have been given assurances by President Trump and Vice-President Pence and others, that the agreement will be adhered to," Bishop told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "And the (refugee cap) quota will roll over again on October 1."
The situation is particularly acute on Manus, with the camp set to close by October after a PNG Supreme Court ruling declared that holding people there was unconstitutional.
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said those on Manus would not be moved to Australia and instead relocated to third countries such as the US and Cambodia or resettled in PNG.
"News like this makes us feel dead. It defuses the spark of hope that we try to hold on to," Manus refugee detainee Imran Mohammad, from Myanmar, said in a statement Sunday via Australia's Human Rights Law Centre.
More than 800 men are being held on Manus, and 370 men, women and children are detained on Nauru, according to Australian immigration data ending May 31.

More News For this Category

Muslim elders urge return to prayer as Israel backs down over Al-Aqsa

Muslim elders urge return to prayer as Israel backs down over Al-Aqsa

Reuters, Jerusalem :Muslim elders urged worshippers to return to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Thursday after Israel backed down in the face of 10 days of often-violent

France to conduct asylum seeker checks in Libya: Macron

France to conduct asylum seeker checks in Libya: Macron

AFP, Orléans  :France will set up processing centres this summer in Libya for asylum seekers trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday."The idea is

Britain plans to send warship to South China Sea in move likely to irk Beijing

Britain plans to send warship to South China Sea in move likely to irk Beijing

Reuters, Sydney  :Britain plans to send a warship to the disputed South China Sea next year to conduct freedom of navigation exercises, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said on Thursday,

News In Brief

EU plans new emergency support for Greek refugee crisisAP, AthensThe European Commission announced a new emergency support package for Greece Thursday to help it deal with the refugee crisis

Russia risks decades of low growth under US sanctions: Putin adviser

Russia risks decades of low growth under US sanctions: Putin adviser

Reuters, Moscow :Russia risks being saddled with U.S. sanctions for decades, curbing economic growth and preventing it from regaining its status as a leading economic power, an adviser to President

US-backed Syrian fighters control almost half of Raqqa

US-backed Syrian fighters control almost half of Raqqa

AP, Raqqa :U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have captured almost half of Raqqa from the Islamic State group, but the push into the northern city has slowed due to large amounts

Rouhani says Iran will `respond` if US missile law passes

Rouhani says Iran will `respond` if US missile law passes

AP, Tehran : Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday his country will respond if a bill in the U.S. Congress imposing sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program

Taliban kill 30 Afghan soldiers as fighting intensifies

Taliban kill 30 Afghan soldiers as fighting intensifies

Reuters, Kandahar : Taliban fighters killed 30 soldiers in an attack on an army base in the southern province of Kandahar, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, as heavy fighting

N Korea's missile could soon reach US cities

N Korea's missile could soon reach US cities

AP, Washington : Intelligence officials believe North Korea will have a reliable, intercontinental missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon as early as next year, according to a report published

China, India are edging closer to a war in Asia that neither can back down

China, India are edging closer to a war in Asia that neither can back down

Business Insider UK :Buried in the Himalayas in the Siliguri Corridor, also known as the Chicken's neck, Chinese and Indian military forces sit on the respective sides of their