Twenty-seven refugees left Nauru this morning bound for Port Moresby, the first leg of a 50-hour long journey to be resettled in the USA.
The group included families, single men and single women, from a variety of countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Burma.
They are being sent to live (some with relatives) in many different states including, Arizona, Texas, California, Oregon and New York.
One refugee told the Refugee Action Coalition “We are happy to be finally going to the United States, but we are not excited. Our heart and hopes have died on Nauru.”
“People are happy to be going to the USA,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “But the movement of just 50 people, shows the level of uncertainty that surrounds the deal with the USA.
“It has been 10 months since the refugees had their first interviews, and there is no indication of when any more refugees who have applied, will be accepted into the US.
“There are more than 1700 refugees, including around 150 Rohingyan refugees, on Manus and Nauru who desperately need safety and protection now.
“The refugees were bluntly told by the US officials that there is no date for more refugees to fly to the US, and that some people will not be accepted.
“The refugees on Manus and Nauru remain the responsibility of the Australian government. The government should make sure that no one is left behind. All the people on Manus and Nauru should be brought to the mainland while the government makes arrangements for those who want to go to the USA.”
Astonishingly, the refugees are expected to pay for their flight to the USA and are being charged $2500. They are expected to pay it back in monthly instalments over two years to establish a “good credit rating.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713