Australia's refugee deal with US 'not a panacea'

1:13 pm on 16 January 2017

Refugee advocates say Australia's deal with the United States to resettle refugees being held in offshore detention centres is not a complete solution.

Protesters call for immigration detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island to close in Melbourne, in August 2016.

Protesters call for immigration detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island to close in Melbourne, in August 2016. Photo: AFP

US officials have been in Nauru and on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island to begin interviews with some refugees who have expressed interest in being resettled in the United States.

But the deal remains shrouded in uncertainty, with various reports saying President-elect Donald Trump will do everything to halt the deal with Australia when he takes office this week.

But the Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul says that even if the deal goes ahead, Australia cannot shy away from its responsibilities for the refugees who do not qualify for resettlement in the US.

"There is only one option in terms of an outcome and that is for the Australian government to finally face up to its responsibility and accept that people must be brought to Australia and resettled in Australia. I mean the options that the Australian government talk about are the resettlement in Papua New Guinea or Nauru are simply not viable."

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