Refugees Held in Detention Centers Being Moved to the U.S.
In a one-of-a-kind agreement, never to be repeated, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that 1300 refugees, currently being held in offshore detention centers, will be sent to the United States. Most of the detainees come from the Middle East and South Asia. Many of the people are from Iran and Afghanistan. Turnbull explained that priority will be given to women, children, and families.
Amnesty International, in a scathing report last month, accused the Australian government of turning the detention center into an open-air-prison. They said that numerous human rights abuses were documented at the centers. The UN committee report, in October, found numerous cases of attempted suicide, self-immolation, acts of self-harm, and depression in children who had been in a detention center for a prolonged period of time.
Turnbull explained that the transfer will take time. It will be administered by the UN-High Commission on Refugees. The Human Rights Law Center has said the government’s plan is “full of holes.” In a statement they noted that there was, “No time frame. No numbers. No detail on what the government will do with the hundreds of innocent people who will be left behind. It’s not a plan.”
The agreement was signed between the Turnbull and Obama administrations. However, it is not known if the new Donald Trump administration will be affected by the agreement, or not. Secretary of State John Kerry did not respond to a question about whether the deal could be overturned by Trump.