First group of refugees from Australian detention camps head to US

After years of detention at one of two remote Australia-run Pacific centers, a group of refugees are heading to the United States for permanent resettlement.

At least 22 asylum-seekers who have been held at the Manus camp in northern Papua New Guinea will board a plane in the capital of Port Moresby and fly to Manila, then head to an undisclosed location in the U.S. The public affairs officer in the U.S. embassy in Port Morseby says a second group of about 30 refugees will leave a second detention center on Nauru for resettlement in the U.S. in the coming days.

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. Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, attacked the agreement during a contentious phone call with Australian Prime Minister Turnbull shortly after taking office, and called it “a dumb deal” in an angry tweet posted in February, before eventually agreeing to honor it.

More than 1,200 asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are being held in Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s northern island of Manus, as part of Canberra’s policy of intercepting people attempting to sail to Australia and seek asylum.

[Voice of America]

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