35 more refugees are being transported from Nauru to the United States. This is the third group of refugees this year to leave Nauru which is home to Australia’s immigration centres.
Most of the refugees are single men of Afghan, Pakistani or Rohingya descent. A Sri Lankan family and one refugee from Bangladesh round out the third group which further highlighted the continued exclusion of Iranians after being included by U.S. President Donald Trump in the travel ban.
In all, 84 refugees have left Nauru while another 85 departed from Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. At least one more group is expected to leave Nauru this month.
The transfer of immigrants is part of Australia’s resettlement deal with the United States during the administration of Barack Obama. President Trump criticised the deal but decided to uphold it.
Australia agreed to take in immigrants from refugee camps operated by the United States in Costa Rica as long as the U.S. would work on resettling 1,250 refugees from their offshore refugee camps. Many of the refugees are El Salvador, Guatemala and the Honduras which are among the most violent countries in Central America.
According to the Australian government the ceiling of 1,250 refugees will not be enough to resettle everyone from the offshore camps.
Papua New Guinea has expressed its willingness to resettle more refugees on condition that the country receives assistance from Australia. For their part, Nauru does not want to provide permanent resettlement for any of the refugees.
The refugee camps have been under fire for subjecting the refugees to inhumane living conditions. Reports from the United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) stated that electricity, food, water and medical supplies were being cut off to force some of the refugees to leave the centre in Papua New Guinea.
However in the weeks leading to the most recent departure, three men from the Manus centre were allegedly beaten up by members of the Papua New Guinea defence force. The refugees were taken to the nearby hospital for treatment.