Aus­tralia, US reach mi­grant deal

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SYD­NEY: Refugees held on re­mote Pa­cific camps af­ter try­ing to reach Aus­tralia by boat will be re­set­tled in the US in a “one-off” deal seen as a break­through that could see the con­tro­ver­sial fa­cil­i­ties closed.

Can­berra sends asy­lum-seek­ers who try to reach Aus­tralia by boat to de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties on Pa­pua New Guinea’s Manus Is­land and Nauru, and block them from re­set­tling in Aus­tralia even if found to be refugees.

“The ar­range­ments with the US will of­fer the op­por­tu­nity for refugees, both on Nauru and Manus, to be re­set­tled,” Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said in Can­berra.

“It is a one-off agree­ment. It will not be re­peated ... Our pri­or­ity is the re­set­tle­ment of women, chil­dren and fam­i­lies.”

Suc­ces­sive Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments have sought to stem waves of boat mi­gra­tion by peo­ple from war-torn Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the Mid­dle East, us­ing harsh poli­cies in­clud­ing turn­ing back the ves­sels, and strict se­crecy about op­er­a­tions on the high seas and at the re­mote camps.

Al­though the lat­est poli­cies by the cur­rent con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment largely stopped the ar­rivals, con­di­tions in the camps have been widely crit­i­cised by refugee ad­vo­cates and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

They say some asy­lum-seek­ers suf­fer from men­tal health prob­lems due to their pro­longed, in­def­i­nite de­ten­tion. – AFP

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