Third group of refugees from Manus to the US
A third group of 18 refugees from Manus Island flew from Port Moresby this morning (13 February), to be resettled in the United States. Photos from Port Moresby airport attached.
The men are all single Afghan, Pakistani and Rohingyan refugees.
Today's departure brings the total number of Manus refugees who have been accepted to the US to just 85, fifteen months after the US deal was first announced.
Officials from the United States have not even completed the first interviews for all the refugees on Manus who indicated interest in being resettled in the US last November. A group of 175 are presently being shuttled between Manus and Port Moresby for their first interview.
Doubt still surrounds the US deal. Iranian refugees on told were told for the third week in a eow that there is no information about whether Iranians wil be indluded in future resettlement intakes to the United Staes.
One Iranian refugee received a one line answer to her query sent to US Refugee Services International: "[your] Case is pending USCIS review." (USCIS isUnited States Citizenship and Immigration Services ) .
National refugee rallies are being planned across Australia for Palm Sunday (25 March) to call for the closure of Manus and Nauru, and for the Australian government to bring all the refugees and asylum seekers from Manus and Nauru to Australia.