Reports suggest the US refugee deal still has a pulse, but important questions remain unanswered

Media reports suggest that US President Donald Trump has today told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that he will not quash the US refugee deal, but simple and important questions about the detail of the arrangements remain unanswered.

Human Rights Law Centre Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, welcomed the news that the deal may still be alive but called on Prime Minister Turnbull to clarify plans to ensure safety for all.

“The US deal may still have a pulse, but it’s not a plan. It’s been months since the US refugee deal was announced and there are still no numbers, no timeframes, no information about reuniting families who have been separated and no detail about what our government will do to ensure safety for those likely to be left behind,” said Mr Webb.

“When Malcolm Turnbull announced the US deal he was quite rightly acknowledging that he couldn’t just leave 2000 innocent men, women and children languishing on Nauru and Manus forever. These 2000 lives are in Malcolm Turnbull’s hands, not Donald Trump’s. There may still be a long and narrow path to the US for some, but it is Malcolm Turnbull’s responsibility to ensure safety for all - no one can be left behind,” said Mr Webb.

“How many people will be able to access the US deal? How long will it take? What is the plan for those left behind? What about the families who have been separated or the 370 people already rebuilding their lives in Australia after being evacuated from Nauru or Manus for medical treatment? These are all simple but crucially important questions. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should answer them,” said Mr Webb.

For further comments or queries please contact:

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

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