Refugee children detained on Nauru to be moved to Australia within 2 months

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-01 13:34:21|Editor: Liangyu
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CANBERRA, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Refugee children being detained indefinitely on the Pacific island nation of Nauru by Australia will be moved to Australia by the end of 2018.

George Brandis, the former Attorney-General and current High Commissioner to Britain, confirmed the plan during a radio interview in Britain on Thursday.

"There are hardly any children on Nauru and in New Guinea and we expect that by the end of this year there will be none," he said.

"In any event, this is a problem that's largely gone away."

According to the Department of Home Affairs, there are 40 children still in detention on the island, all of who will find new homes in Australia within two months.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said he was working on moving the children without "showboating about it."

"Children have been transferred off Nauru, that's been happening for some time," he said in a regular appearance on Macquarie Media radio.

"It's being done in accordance with our policies, our existing policies."

The detention facility on Nauru has been used to detain asylum seekers who attempted to come to Australia by boat since 2012.

At that time 46 children have been born to asylum seekers being held on the island and 244 minors have already been resettled in Australia.

The government has come under pressure to accelerate the process from independent Members of Parliament (MPs) who hold the balance of power in parliament and the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP).

A poll conducted by Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper in late October revealed that more than 80 percent of Australians were in favour of resettling the children on Nauru after the Australian Medical Association (AMA) declared the situation a "medical emergency".

New Zealand has offered to resettle 150 adult asylum seekers on Nauru but Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have said they would only accept the offer if those refugees are banned from ever entering Australia on any grounds.

Shayne Neumann, the ALP's immigration spokesperson, welcomed the news but said it was "up to Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton to ensure children are actually removed from Nauru."

"Let's not forget, this news is completely opposite to what the government has been saying was possible, and they are still continuing to fight medical transfer cases in the courts," Neumann said, referring to the government's opposition to allowing adult asylum seekers into Australia for medical treatment.

"Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton need to tell Australians what the long-term plan is for these kids. They can start by accepting New Zealand's offer to resettle eligible refugees."

Gillian Triggs, former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), described it as "remarkably good news" but said more had to be done for adult detainees.

"Political events and community approaches have quite simply forced the government's hand," Triggs told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio.

"I think we can say it's remarkably good news that these children will now have access to proper medical care in Australia.

"The same arguments apply to their parents, to their grandparents. But especially to these young men who are (at the Manus Island detention centre) for the most part ... they are in utter despair with very similar medical indications."