Refugees on the Australian island of Nauru, most of them from Iran and Somalia, are losing hope of resettlement to the US after the third version of Donald Trump’s travel ban which bars or limits entry to citizens of five Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) was being considered by the supreme court as to its constitutionality but is still in effect, meaning they cannot be displaced for the moment.
All those who this week had appointments with US officials to discuss their relocation, have been rejected.
One refugee who wished to remain anonymous said the mood in the camp was shifting: “Everyone is just thinking they have no hope.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">There is huge worry in Nauru & Manus about US deal. Many Iranian & Somali refugees in Nauru given rejection notices from US. It means US considers the countries banned. Its time for that the Home Affairs minister takes responsibility & makes his plan clear.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Manus?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Manus</a></p>— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) <a href="https://twitter.com/BehrouzBoochani/status/993716655422291968?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 8, 2018</a></blockquote>
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“I have seen small children so distressed, a 12-year-old girl crying she is a like widow, asking what will happen to her life.”
On neighboring Manus Island, journalist Behrouz Boochani, who is himself part of the refugees, claimed that all Iranians and Somalis were fearful of being rejected: “There is huge worry in Nauru & Manus about US deal.”
“Many Iranian & Somali refugees in Nauru given rejection notices from US. It means US considers the countries banned. It’s time for that the Home Affairs minister takes responsibility & makes his plan clear.”
Australia is so keen on resettling the refugees from the islands that it is now offering millions of dollars in exchange for any country wishing to house them. Home Affairs Minister Mr Peter Dutton had to admit this week though that there were no “third country” resettlement options. So far, Cambodia has accepted to resettle two refugees, at a cost of $40m.