More Manus refugees fly to the US but hundreds still in limbo

| July 3, 2019 | Reply

Refugees at the Port Moresby airport on 26 June

Two planes in the last two weeks have taken 38 refugees from Papua New Guinea to be resettled in the United States. One carrying 15 refugees left on 26 June, another with 23 refugees left Port Moresby on Tuesday 2 July.

It takes the total number of refugees from Manus resettled in the United States to around 240. The total number resettled in the United States is around 580, well short of the 1250 initially suggested to be part of the US resettlement deal between Australia and the United States.

“The US deal was never going to provide enough places for the refugees Australia has held on Manus and Nauru. There are over 1800 refugees needing resettlement,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

Another 60 refugees are still waiting in Port Moresby to be flown to the US.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton recently confirmed that the number of refugees being resettled in the US will not reach 1250.

“The Coalition government has had six years to resettle the refugees. New Zealand’s offer to take 150 a year was made to the Gillard government in 2013. The offer still stands but it is still being ignored by Dutton,” said Rintoul.

Meanwhile the cost of offshore detention keeps rising. There have been scores of self-harm incidents and suicide attempts on Manus since the federal election on 18 May, as refugees have been left without a future. And, the Australian government is facing another compensation pay out of hundreds of millions of dollars to refugees who have been unlawfully detained on Manus, as a result of legal action in the PNG National Court.

“The Australian government has been violating refugees’ human rights in offshore detention for almost six years. It’s time the government ended the persecution, and brought them to Australia to provide the protection they asked for in 2013,” said Rintoul.

Refugee rallies on Saturday 20 July (marking six years of the Pacific Solution II) will call for the immediate evacuation of Manus and Nauru and the closure of the offshore prisons.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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