Manus Island Refugees Uncertain About Resettlement Deal Between Australia, U.S.

No timeline for closure of asylum seeker camps; resettlement

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 13, 2016) – Refugees held on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island say there's little clarity on a deal struck over their resettlement between Australia and the US.

A month ago Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed his government had reached an agreement with the US regarding refugees held in offshore processing centres after having tried to reach Australia by boat.

At the time, there were 872 people in the offshore processing centre on Manus Island and 390 people in Nauru's centre.

Refugees and asylum seekers had cautiously welcomed the deal after Canberra had earlier ruled out resettlement in Australia.

They now say that few of their questions about the deal have been addressed, and they have no idea when they may be resettled.

PNG Immigration in recent days has told the men held on Manus the deal is still in place but a refugee spokesperson on Manus said with no details, rumours are circulating.

He said the uncertainty is adding to the men's frustrations and mental hardship of the past three and a half years of illegal detention on Manus.

A PNG Supreme Court ruled in April that holding the men on Manus against their will was illegal, leaving it incumbent on the PNG and Australian governments to close the centre.

No timeline has been given for the closure, although the US deal has opened a possible breakthrough.

However there are questions over whether the reported one-off refugee resettlement deal for detainees on Manus and Nauru will stand when the administration of US President-elect Donald Trump takes power.

Radio New Zealand International
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