19 Feb 2018

More refugees leave Nauru for US

11:01 am on 19 February 2018
Refugees depart Nauru

Refugees depart Nauru Photo: Refugee Action Coaltion

Another thirty-five refugees have flown out of Nauru heading to the United States for resettlement.

Refugee activist Ian Rintoul said almost all who flew out yesterday for Los Angeles are single Afghan, Pakistani or Rohingya men.

A Sri Lankan family of four and a Bangladeshi were also among the group.

This brings to 84 the number of refugees who've flown to the US since resettlement began in September.

Mr Rintoul said up to 100 refugees have not had their first interview with US officials who are expected to return to Nauru next week.

He said the big question was whether any of the acceptances will include Iranian or Somali refugees.

He said conditions on Nauru and Manus Island are continuing to deteriorate.

Mr Rintoul said up to 100 people were involved in a "major disturbance" near the Lorengau market on Manus on Friday when refugees went there to sell food.

He said two refugees were bashed to prevent them coming to the market area.

Mr Rintoul said many asylum seekers were resorting to selling food to get money for phone cards and other necessities since the government cut their allowances after moving them from the detention centre on the navy base last November.

He said some locals intervened to protect the refugees before police arrived.

He said the incident highlighted the precarious security situation for refugees and asylum seekers on Manus.

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