Diplomat Says Australia to Remove Child Refugees From Detention Centers

Frederick Owens
November 4, 2018

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

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the government has been "quietly" removing children from the island nation, telling reporters this week the number had halved over the past nine weeks.

As of Monday, there were 40 children of asylum seekers remaining on the island.

The Australian government is set to move all children now held in immigration detention on Nauru to Australia by the end of the year. Anyone who attempts the journey is now sent to remote camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manu Island for processing. Papua New Guinea has male-only facilities and all asylum-seekers there are adults.

"I think now is exactly the wrong time to be sending people to New Zealand because we don't have Labor's agreement on the lifetime ban, and it's doubtful they would support it, and secondly, there's too much activity and too much speculation around which means NZ would be a pull factor", he said.

Australia has all but stopped people trying to get to the country by boat since it announced five years ago that anyone who tried to claim asylum after arriving by sea would never be allowed to settle.

The Prime Minister has faced building pressure from within his own party on the asylum seeker issue.

Under a deal with former U.S. president Barack Obama, 439 people of a potential 1,250 have so far been resettled from Manus and Nauru to the United States. "The mental and physical conditions of these children on Nauru have been devastating".

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The paediatrician said he also feared for the health of children brought to Australia, who were now being kept under guard at motels when they should be released into the community.

Legal action would continue to force the evacuation of the remaining children and could be extended to about 90 families on Nauru, some of whom with vulnerable adolescents who were detained as kids, the advocate said. "And we can end this nightmare today".

"That is, for five years bar the last fortnight, it required us going to court to force the government to bring kids that were suicidal, kids that were at risk of dying as young as six-months of age", he said.

Scott Morrison speaking on 2GB with Alan Jones today denied that the government was softening its tough border protection stance that asylum seekers on Nauru will still not be allowed to settle in Australia.

"Once people have received their medical assistance, then the expectation is that they will return to their country of origin", Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said today when asked about children being moved to Australia.

Mehdi, 38, said it was great news that all the kids are being moved off Nauru, and they should have first priority.

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".

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