First Australia refugees approved for US resettlement | 2017-09-20 |

First Australia refugees approved for US resettlement

Sun Online Desk     20th September, 2017 11:09:41 printer

First Australia refugees approved for US resettlement


A group of refugees from Australia's offshore detention centres have become the first to be accepted by the US under a resettlement deal.


About 50 people from the Papua New Guinea and Nauru centres will be taken to the US, the Australian government confirmed on Tuesday.


Under a resettlement deal struck with the Obama administration in 2016, the US agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees.


President Donald Trump called the deal "dumb" but said he would honour it.


Under a controversial policy, Australia refuses to take in anyone trying to reach its territories unofficially by boat. They are intercepted and detained in the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres.


'They're disgusted with Australia'


Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed the first group would depart from the centres in the coming weeks, and that others would learn of their fate in coming days.


A refugee advocacy group told the BBC that a small number of people had received letters from US authorities on Tuesday.


Three Sudanese refugees were among those accepted, the Refugee Action Coalition said. They will leave the detention centre this weekend and fly to the US next week.


The government says there are 1,162 asylum seekers who arrived by boat living in the two detention centres.


The agreement, which is being administered under the United Nations refugee agency UNCHR, is prioritising women, children and families and other refugees found to be the most vulnerable.


Adding to the pressure is the looming closure of the Manus detention centre. The Australian government says the facility will be closed by 31 October, with the future of the asylum seekers left there unclear.


The government says they will not be taken to Australia and will either be resettled in Papua New Guinea or sent back to their original countries.


Source: BBC