First Group from Australia's Detention Camp Heading to New Home in US

Twenty Five Refugees Leave Manus Island In AUS-US Resettlement Deal

The refugees are the first of 1,250 asylum seekers that are being resettled in the United States under a deal struck between Canberra and Washington in the final weeks of President Barack Obama's administration.

There was not, however, any obligation for the United States to take a specific number of refugees.

The first group - including men from Bangladesh, Sudan and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar - left Manus, which is in Papua New Guinea, on Sunday, officials have confirmed, and will be on their way to the U.S. on Wednesday.

The Public Affairs officer for the USA embassy in Port Moresby, Beverly Thacker, said they would be resettled in a number of different states.

"We expect that other refugees will be resettled in the coming months".

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Under Australia's strict and controversial refugee policy, anyone intercepted trying to reach the country by boat is sent to prison camps on Manus Island or the Pacific island of Nauru for processing.

"They have been approved for travel to the U.S. under the same stringent vetting process that apply to all refugees", she said.

The original deal agreed on the resettlement of up to 1250 detainees from both Nauru and Manus.

Under the bilateral deal - which President Donald Trump called "dumb" but said he will honour - the USA has agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees. Amnesty International issued a report last October alleging that numerous 400 men, women and children being held on Nauru have been subjected to physical and mental abuse and neglect, and have attempted various forms of self-harm, including attempted suicides, and were falling into deep despair over their long detention and uncertain fate.


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