Trump executive orders expose gaping holes in US refugee deal - Turnbull government must urgently find a humane way forward

Executive orders signed by US President Donald Trump, imposing a four month freeze on all refugee resettlement to the US and drastically reducing America’s refugee intake thereafter, have exposed further holes in the Turnbull Government’s already uncertain refugee deal.

Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, said:

“These orders clearly impact many, if not most, of the men, women and children currently stuck on Nauru and Manus. While there may possibly still be a painfully long and narrow road to the US for some, it’s now crystal clear that the US deal won't ensure safety for all.”

“When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the US deal he was quite rightly acknowledging that he couldn't just leave people languishing in limbo on Nauru and Manus forever. Having finally conceded that Nauru and Manus are dead ends it is our government’s responsibility to urgently find a humane way forward,” said Mr Webb.

Mr Webb said that the uncertainty and confusion surrounding Turnbull’s US deal was causing considerable distress on Nauru and Manus.

“We’re talking about 2000 people who have been in limbo for almost three and a half years. It's a massive chunk of a person’s life. They are exhausted.”

“When the US deal was announced many felt hopeful and optimistic for the first time in years - finally the government was acknowledging it had to get them off Manus and Nauru. But the ongoing uncertainty, confusion and delay is seeing those faint hopes dashed and causing a lot of pain,” said Mr Webb.

“Enough is enough. After three and a half years of limbo, it’s time to evacuate the people on Manus and Nauru to safety in Australia and allow those already here for medical treatment to stay and continue rebuilding their lives in our communities.”

For further comments or queries please contact:

Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy, Human Rights Law Centre, 0437 278 961

Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519