THE Australian government has announced that the last four children detained on the island of Nauru will, with their asylum-seeker families, be resettled in the United States.
Last August, when 109 children were in detention on the Pacific island nation, the government promised that no children would be detained there by last Christmas.
The last children will move to the US under the terms of an agreement reached with the American government during Barack Obama’s presidency.
About 1000 male asylums are still detained on both Nauru and Manus Island, which is part of New Guinea. Last week, a detainee on Manus Island, the Kurdish Iranian asylum-seeker Behrouz Boochani, was awarded the $25,000 non-fiction prize at the Victorian Premier’s literary awards, and the $100,000 Victorian prize for literature. He has been detained on Manus Island for six years, and wrote his award-winning debut work, No Friend but the Mountains, on a smartphone, sending it out through a series of text messages to a translator.
Australian church leaders and church groups, doctors, human-rights groups, refugee activists, and some federal parliamentarians have consistently called for an end to the island detention camps, where asylum-seekers trying to reach Australia by sea have been held under Australia’s tough immigration regime since 2013. The rules will not allow any asylum-seeker who arrived by sea to be settled in Australia.