Nauru children to be relocated to Australia by the end of 2018

Cheryl Sanders
November 4, 2018

"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.

While aid agencies have called for the removal of the more than 1,000 refugees held for more than five years, Morrison is under huge pressure to resettle 40 children now held on Nauru amid warnings they are suffering from declining mental health.

"We haven't been showboating about it, we haven't been doing any of those things, " the prime minister said.

Pressure has mounted on the government to make an exception for children, but some government lawmakers argue that would only encourage asylum seekers to put children at risk by bringing them on treacherous voyages to Australia on rickety fishing boats.

According to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the 41 families moved to Australia included eight who were moved by court order, 21 under concessions made after legal intervention, and 12 moved at the initiative of Australian Border Force.

Refugee advocates said there were only 38 children remaining on Nauru by Thursday. The kidsoffnarua campaign has involved a television advertising campaign fronted by doctors to claim the children on Nauru need urgent medical attention, 6,000 doctors have signed an open letter calling for children to be removed from Nauru. "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".

Refugees will be sent to the United States or resettled in other countries, Dutton said.

"Even when you bring them to Australia, if you leave families with a sense of uncertainty, it is going to be very hard for the children to recover", he added. "We have seen children not eating or drinking for days, in a comatose state". But after more than a year of screening, only 439 have found new homes in the U.S. "The mental and physical conditions of these children on Nauru have been devastating".

"Children have been transferred off Nauru, that's been happening for some time", Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB on Thursday.

"It's taken court hearings and a groundswell from the community to get the government to act to get these kids off Nauru", Newhouse said.

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".

She said two close friends moved to Australia a few months ago, and it has been good for them because they can finally go to school, make new friends, and go out at night.

"Labor supports third country resettlement arrangements and we ask the government to consider the New Zealand offer".

A recent poll commissioned by Sydney's Sunday Telegraph - a tabloid that usually supports the right-leaning government - found 79 percent of Australians surveyed want children and their families transferred off Nauru.

Forty-six kids have been born on Nauru under the offshore detention regime since 2012.

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