Australia, UK Approve Resettlement Deal For Refugees
1,300 refugees held at the island states of Nauru and Papua New Guinea are the people which the Obama administration had approved to resettle. Conditions at the prison camps are the number one issue Human Rights advocates worried about.
Another group of 370 who approached to Australia for health treatment and then declined to return to the islands would also be qualified for the relocation.
"I can now confirm that the government has reached a further third country resettlement arrangement for refugees presently in the regional processing centres. The agreement is with the United States," said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a press conference in Canberra last Friday.
However, Turnbull would not disclose whether he and president-elect Donald Trump had conversed the matter during their telephone discussion last Thursday.
"We deal with one administration at a time and there is only one president of the United States at a time," said Turnbull to the reporters, telling that the deal was reached "some time ago."
"US had "agreed to consider referrals" from the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR," said US Secretary of State John Kerry. "We are going to work to protect vulnerable refugees around the world, and we'll share that responsibility with our friends in the regions that are most affected by this challenge," says Kerry.
Since the implementation of a tough policy regarding refuges in July 2013, Australia has declined to immigrate any refugee that has arrived by boat. Nauru and Papua New Guinea are then hired by Australia to keep the refugees in detentions while Australia is searching for countries that will relocate them.
According to immigration minister Peter Dutton, a 20-year visa to stay on Nauru, a little humble island with a population of 10,000 people will be given to any refugee who declines to go to the US. Very low numbers of refugees have agreed to offers to transfer in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.
The exact number of refugees the US might take is still not sure according to Turnbull, but he said that the most helpless would be given importance.
"Our priority is the resettlement of woman, children and families. This will be an orderly process. It will take time. It will not be rushed," Turnbull said.