35 refugees fly out of Nauru for United States
February 18 2018 09:59 AM
The number of Australia-held refugees to be resettled in the US has increased to 187.


Thirty-five refugees on the Pacific island nation of Nauru have left for the United States, becoming the sixth group to leave Australian-run offshore detention centres under a resettlement deal.
The refugees - mostly single men from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as one Sri Lankan family with four children - flew out from Nauru on Sunday, said Ian Rintoul, the spokesman for Refugee Action Coalition.
The latest cohort brings the total number of Australia-held refugees to be resettled in the US to 187.
Photos shared by the coalition shows refugees leaving a camp and saying their goodbyes to other refugees at Nauru's airport.
Australia negotiated a swap deal with the US under former president Barack Obama, which incumbent Donald Trump called a "dumb deal," but vowed to uphold.
Some 2,000 refugees, who tried to enter Australia by boat, have been languishing in deplorable conditions in camps on two Pacific islands - Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island - since 2014.
Rintoul said at least one more flight of refugees to the US was expected by the end of February. He also said US officials were expected to return to Nauru next week to conduct interviews with more refugees.
Last week, a skirmish on Manus Island saw two refugees bashed by  locals after they tried to sell their food in the market for some pocket money to buy phone cards and other needs.
Australia cut allowances for asylum seekers last year.
"They are now more deprived and less secure," Rintoul said. "It remains urgent for all the refugee and asylum seekers to be brought to Australia where they can get the protection they need." 

Last updated: February 18 2018 10:03 AM

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