US resettlement interviewers leaving Manus Island

7:53 pm on 8 March 2017

The company interviewing Manus Island refugees for possible resettlement in the United States has told the detainees it will leave the island on Thursday.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Protest by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island. Photo: supplied

About 900 men have been detained on the Papua New Guinea Island by Australia for more than three years.

Kurdish journalist and detainee Behrouz Boochani said the company, Resettlement Support Centre, had interviewed about 300 refugees since mid February.

He said the company planned to come back to Manus in the next few weeks to interview others.

Mr Boochani said the refugees remained concerned about the prospect of US resettlement after President Donald Trump announced new measures on Tuesday that block citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.

President Trump also reduced the number of refugees admitted to the US each year from 110,000 to 50,000.

In February, the Australian government said it was confident Mr Trump would honour the deal to resettle some of the refugees detained on Manus Island and Nauru.

The same month, an assistant secretary with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, told a coronial inquest into the death of a detainee that the Australian government was looking at closing the Manus Island facility by the end of the year.

The PNG Supreme Cout ruled last year the detention centre must be closed.

The company contracted to provide services in the Manus Island and Nauru centres, Ferrovial, said it would not renew its contract with the Australian government beyond October.

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