US to Take Manus Is, Nauru Refugees Un­der Aust deal

Fiji Sun - - World News -

Aus­tralia is on the brink of a deal to send hun­dreds of refugees held on Manus Is­land and Nauru to the United States. Govern­ment min­is­ters re­mained tight-lipped yes­ter­day when The Aus­tralian news­pa­per re­ported the two coun­tries were poised to an­nounce the pact. But sev­eral sources con­firmed to the ABC that Aus­tralia and the US would sign an agree­ment which would re­solve the fate of al­most 1300 asy­lum­seek­ers on Manus Is­land and Nauru, some of whom have been fac­ing years of un­cer­tainty. Un­der the deal, the US would re­set­tle de­tainees who have been pro­cessed on the two is­land fa­cil­i­ties and have been deemed refugees. An an­nounce­ment was ex­pected to­day (Sun­day). At this stage it was not clear whether the im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion cen­tres on Nauru and Manus Is­land would be closed after the deal is signed. It was also un­clear what would hap­pen to de­tainees who were not found to be owed pro­tec­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Im­mi­gra­tion, there were 396 peo­ple in Nauru and 873 on Manus Is­land on 30 Septem­ber. Aus­tralian Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Pe­ter Dut­ton ruled out re­set­tling any refugees in coun­tries other than the US un­til Par­lia­ment passed leg­is­la­tion pre­vent­ing any­one who tried to reach Aus­tralia by boat ever be­ing granted an Aus­tralian visa. That leg­is­la­tion, which would ap­ply to any at­tempt back­dated to 13 July 2013, passed the lower house this week in the face of fierce op­po­si­tion from the Aus­tralian La­bor Party, but has not yet gone through the Se­nate.

The US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion has also in­jected un­cer­tainty into ne­go­ti­a­tions. RNZI

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