35 refugees from Nauru fly to USA – none from Muslim majority countries


On Sunday, thirty-six refugees exiled to Nauru by Australia flew to the USA to be resettled.

They are Afghan, Pakistani, Rohingyan and Sri Lankan.

The group did not include refugees from Iran or Somalia or any of the Muslim majority countries banned from the US, which account for about half of all refugees on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and Nauru.

A spokesperson for Australia’s Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton says the refugees have made the trip as part of a deal struck between former US president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Advocate Ian Rintoul said the absence from the group of refugees from the banned countries showed the Australian government had no plan to secure the future of those people.

About 900 refugees remain on Nauru, including about 130 children.

Last week the Guardian reported that a 14-year-old refugee girl who had attempted suicide on Nauru by trying to set herself on fire was to be moved to Australia within days.

She is the eighth child moved from the island following a court order or the threat of legal action.

The Australian Border Force had rejected recommendations from doctors on the island to immediately move the girl to an Australian hospital for acute psychiatric treatment that isn’t available on Nauru.

An urgent application brought by the National Justice Project to have the girl moved was set to be heard in the federal court last Friday morning in Sydney.

But just as proceedings commenced, the Australian government agreed to move her and her family to Australia.

About 220 refugees from Nauru have now been moved to the US with about 110 from Manus.



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News category: Asia Pacific.

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