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This is fantastic news, albeit long overdue. No man, woman, or child deserves to be detained in mandatory offshore processing facilities. Refugees are people fleeing extreme violence and persecution who deserve and need protection and respect. You can take action on migrant and refugee issues here.

Following five years of colossal political and societal pressure, Australia will finally permit all asylum-seeker children detained in immigration facilities on Nauru into the country by year's end. 

Former attorney-general George Brandis made the long awaited announcement during a radio interview in London early on Thursday morning, before further announcing that all children, and their families, would receive urgent treatment in hospitals throughout Australia. Bandis’ claims have not been disputed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison or Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, both of whom instead simply affirmed that a number of children had already been removed from the island over the past nine weeks.

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"Children have already been transferred off Nauru,” Morrison told Sydney radio station 2GB. "I haven't been showboating about it, I haven't been drawing attention to it. It's being done in accordance with our existing policies."

The announcement arrived after mounting #KidsOff Nauru campaigns, increasing global condemnation, and widespread calls from medical organisations claiming children on Nauru were so traumatised and depressed they were self-harming and refusing to eat. Recent reports have also detailed a case were one child poured petrol over himself and another ate metal wire.

Since Oct. 15, 135 adults and 47 children have been brought from Nauru to Australia, according to Guardian Australia — 38 children are believed to remain. Out of the 135 adults, just 49 were revealed to have been transferred independently and voluntarily by the government. The remaining 86 were moved thanks to legal intervention or court orders.

Despite initial elation, Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann regretfully announced some of the children’s futures remained uncertain. Neumann revealed the Australian government must now inform Australians of a clear long-term plan for those who will be transferred for medical treatment but who may not be settled permanently under the current Migration Act.

On Thursday, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed Neumann’s fears, telling Radio National that Australia’s immigration position remained “crystal clear” and that anyone who had previously tried to enter Australia illegally by boat would “never be able to settle here permanently.”

The federal government has thus far rejected New Zealand’s proposal to settle 150 people a year. Despite initially announcing in 2016 that it would accept up to 1,250 refugees from Nauru and Papua New Guinea, the United States has so far only accepted around 400 people.


Demand Equity

All Asylum-Seeker Children to Leave Nauru Detention Center by Year's End

By Madeleine Keck