Offshore processing to continue on Nauru

·2-min read

Asylum seekers who attempt to find refuge in Australia on boats will continue to be refused entry and sent to Nauru into the future.

Australia on Friday signed a new memorandum of understanding with the tiny island nation which began offshore processing in 2012.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the agreement would continue policies that started under Operation Sovereign Borders.

"There is zero chance of settlement in Australia for anyone who arrives illegally by boat," she said.

"Anyone who attempts an illegal maritime journey to Australia will be turned back, or taken to Nauru for processing. They will never settle in Australia."

Offshore processing has come under heavy fire from refugee advocates and international human rights groups.

Nauru President Lionel Aingimea said the new agreement created an "enduring form" of offshore processing.

"This takes the regional processing to a new milestone," he said.

"It is enduring in nature, as such the mechanisms are ready to deal with illegal migrants immediately upon their arrival in Nauru from Australia."

There are 108 people in offshore processing on Nauru and 125 in Papua New Guinea.

Myo Win is a Rohingyan refugee who was detained on Christmas Island and Nauru before being released in March.

"Everyone on Nauru are just so tired, separated from family, having politics played with their lives, it just makes me so upset," he said.

"I am out now and I still cannot live my life on a bridging visa and in lockdown, but it is ten times better than Nauru.

"They should not be extending anything, they should be stopping offshore processing now. I am really worried about everyone on Nauru right now, they need to be released."

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre's Jana Favero said the decision would prolong suffering, family separation, uncertainty and Australia's shame.

"The Morrison government must give the men, women and children impacted by the brutality of offshore processing a safe and permanent home," she said.

"Prolonging the failure of offshore processing on Nauru and PNG is not only wrong and inhumane but dangerous."

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