US refugee resettlement 'disappointing'

11:42 am on 24 January 2018
Amy Frew

Amy Frew Photo: Human Rights Law Centre

A human rights lawyer says it's disappointing so few refugees from Australian offshore detention centres have been resettled in the United States.

Fifty-eight refugees detained on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island flew out of Port Moresby on Tuesday and about 130 from Nauru are expected to join them next month.

They're going as part of a deal struck between Canberra and Washington in November 2016, for America to take up to 1250 of the refugees.

About 50 were resettled last September, but Amy Frew from Australia's Human Rights Law Centre said many more refugees hoped to go.

"Given that over 1600 people have expressed interest in going and the UNHCR has endorsed over 1200, to have what I understand is about four percent of the people actually gone after over a year is really disappointing," said Ms Frew.

"People are rapidly losing hope that they'll find the safety that hey sought nearly five years ago now."

Amy Frew said about 2000 refugees remain on Manus and Nauru, including 150 children.

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