Final refugee children leave Nauru for USA
The last four children living in Australia’s asylum-seeker processing centre on Nauru have been flown to the United States for resettlement. The children left the island country with their families on Wednesday afternoon, 27 February 2019.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said they were the last of 2000 children living in detention when the Coalition formed government in 2013.
“We got them all out,” he said in a statement yesterday. “This is something the government has been working on for some time, quietly and in a way that would not impact our border protection policies.”
The departure of the children and their families brings the number of
refugees to have been resettled in the US under a deal with Australia to
493. Another 265 refugees have been assessed but rejected by the US
under its extreme vetting policy. At the moment, 394 asylum-seekers
remain on Nauru and 580 on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
Some refugee advocates are worried the US deal won’t allow resettlement for the hundreds of asylum-seekers still on Nauru and that the government is “dragging its feet” on medical transfers for those who are sick, despite parliament passing changes to speed them up.
“Almost six years of detention on Nauru has created a mental health crisis on the island, and the government still has no secure future for them,” Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said.
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