Australia, PNG agree to close controversial refugee camp but give no date
- Wall Street falls as investors ready for Trump's inauguration
- IBM (IBM) Tops Q4 EPS by 13c, FY17 EPS Guidance Beats Consensus
- American Express (AXP) Misses Q4 EPS by 7c, FY17 EPS Guidance Tops Views at Mid-Poinit
- Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) Tops Q1 EPS by 3c, Offers Q2 Guidance, Announces Buyback
- After-Hours Stock Movers 01/19: (SWKS) (QRVO) (NVAX) Higher; (AFMD) (SGYP) (IBM) Lower (more...)
Asylum seekers look at the media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea in this picture taken March 21, 2014. This is image is supplied from source with faces digitally blurred. AAP/Eoin Blackwell/via REUTERS
Find out which companies are about to raise their dividend well before the news hits the Street with StreetInsider.com's Dividend Insider Elite. Sign-up for a FREE trial here.
By Matt Siegel
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia and Papua New Guinea said on Wednesday they had agreed to close a controversial Australian-funded asylum seeker detention center on Manus Island, but gave no timeline, leaving the fate of 800 refugees held in the camp unclear.
Under Australian law, anyone intercepted trying to reach the country by boat is sent for processing to camps on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru or to Manus Island off Papua New Guinea. They are never eligible to be resettled in Australia.
Some asylum seekers have spent years in the camps, which have been criticized by the United Nations and human rights groups, with numerous reports of abuse and self-harm among detainees, including children.
The announcement came after a newspaper published leaked documents detailing more than 2,000 incidents of sexual abuse, assault and attempted self-harm reported over two years at the Nauru detention center.
The harsh conditions and reports of systemic child abuse at the camps have drawn wide criticism at home and abroad.
Some in Papua New Guinea are unhappy with the prospect of hundreds of asylum seekers being resettled into their country and there have been reports of asylum seekers being attacked by locals.
"Both Papua New Guinea and Australia are in agreement that the center is to be closed," Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said in a statement.
"A series of options are being advanced and implemented. It is important that this process is not rushed out but carried out in a careful manner." There was no mention of a closing date.
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who met with O'Neill on Wednesday to discuss the camp, reiterated Australia's position that it would not accept any of the refugees detained in Papua New Guinea.
"It has been the longstanding position of this government to work with PNG to close Manus and support those people as they transition into PNG or return to their country of origin," Dutton said in a statement.
"Our position, confirmed again today with PNG, is that no one from Manus Island Regional Processing Centre will ever be settled in Australia."
Dutton made no mention of the detainees on Nauru.
Australia says the policy is needed to stop asylum seekers dying at sea on the dangerous boat journey from Indonesia to Australia. Hundreds of people died attempting the trip in the years before the policy was put in place.
The move was immediately welcomed by refugee advocates.
"Nearly a thousand men on Manus have already lost three or more years of their lives locked up in limbo for no good reason," Elaine Pearson, Australia Director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
"They’ve endured dirty, cramped conditions, inadequate medical care and violence. Finally, it is time to let them move on with their lives in safety and dignity.”
(Reporting by Matt Siegel; Editing by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie)
Serious News for Serious Traders! Try StreetInsider.com Premium Free!
You May Also Be Interested In
- UK retail sales fall sharply in December but fourth-quarter still solid
- British protesters tell Trump from Tower Bridge: 'Build bridges not walls'
- Indian central bank working on plan to reduce online charges: sources
Create E-mail Alert Related CategoriesReuters
Sign up for StreetInsider Free!
Receive full access to all new and archived articles, unlimited portfolio tracking, e-mail alerts, custom newswires and RSS feeds - and more!