World News

Where to from here for asylum seekers?

Where to from here for asylum seekers?

Australia reintroduced offshore detention centers in 2012 after a surge in the number of asylum seekers trying to reach the country by boat.

Australia aims to remove all asylum seeker children from Nauru within two months as concerns escalate about their deteriorating health.

Under a deal with former U.S. president Barack Obama, 439 people of a potential 1,250 have so far been resettled from Manus and Nauru to the United States.

But more than 600 remain on Nauru, while refugee support groups say some 600 men are still in transition centres on Manus after the camp there was closed late a year ago. Even though Morrison has stated that no children who come to Australia for medical care will stay here there will likely be legal challenges by refugee advocates.

The Government has so far rejected an offer from New Zealand to settle 150 asylum seekers there unless it can pass legislation that would prevent them ever entering Australia.

When Morrison took over as prime minister in August, there were 113 asylum-seeker children on Nauru.

The government has come under pressure to accelerate the process from independent Members of Parliament (MPs) who hold the balance of power in parliament and the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP).

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"It's been done in accordance with our policies, our existing policies, and I obviously don't go into the operational arrangements", he added.

On Thursday, he claimed criticism of poor living conditions among the would-be asylum seekers was offensive to the people of Nauru. Anyone who attempts the journey is now sent to remote camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manu Island for processing. But after more than a year of screening, only 439 have found new homes there.

The paediatrician said he also feared for the health of children brought to Australia, who were now being kept under guard at motels when they should be released into the community.

The Home Affairs Minister says the main reason children are being taken off Nauru and brought to Australia is because of the cost, not due to medical reasons. "We have seen children not eating or drinking for days, in a comatose state".

"There are hardly any children in Nauru and in New Guinea and we expect that by the end of this year there will be none", Brandis said. New Zealanders are allowed to live and work in Australia for as long as they like.

Repeatedly asked whether children would be sent to Nauru in the future, Mr Neumann would only restate Labor's support for offshore processing and third-country resettlement.

"The damage that's been done on the island will continue until the children feel that they are in a safe environment, that they're not looking at guards all the time, that they and their damaged families aren't continually being locked up".


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