News that US officials interviewing refugees on Nauru have walked out two weeks before their scheduled departure time has cast more doubt on the future of the US resettlement deal. The news comes just days after the US announced it had filled its annual refugee quota for this year and would not be resettling any more refugees until at least October.
More than 8 months have passed since the US deal was announced, but none of the over 1780 refugees on Manus or Nauru have been resettled. July 19 will mark the four-year anniversary of Australia’s current offshore processing regime and, after four years trapped in limbo on remote islands, the men, women and children on Manus and Nauru now fear there are still no viable no plans for their future.
Behrouz Boochani, a refugee, journalist and filmmaker currently held on Manus Island said:
“This news is frustrating for the refugees here. The US deal has already been clouded with uncertainty and worry that it is just part of a cruel game. When the deal was first announced it brought people some hope. But day by day that hope has diminished, and now this news brings more disappointment and doubt. Some refugees were recently told they would be sent to the US within weeks, but where does this leave them?”
“All the men here have families, and four years with no certainty for their future is already too much,” added Mr Boochani.
Imran Mohammad, a refugee, who was just 19 when he was detained on Manus Island said:
“News like this makes us feel dead. It defuses the spark of hope that we try to hold on to. The uncertainty of our future has always been the same. Sadly, it is getting worse now.”
Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said:
“Every single man, woman and child on Manus and Nauru has already lost four years of their life. Every single one of them deserves a future. These lives are in Malcolm Turnbull’s hands, not Donald Trump’s. After four years of fear, violence and limbo, our government must urgently evacuate every single person trapped on Manus and Nauru to safety.”
For interviews with Daniel Webb or Behrouz Boochani please contact:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519