Date: 
Monday 14 November 2016
Image: 

The Australian Human Rights Commission cautiously welcomes the Government’s announcement over the weekend of a refugee resettlement arrangement with the United States.

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull yesterday revealed Australia had struck a deal with the US to resettle refugees currently residing on Nauru and Manus Island.

Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs, emphasised the importance of finding durable solutions for refugees subject to third country processing.

“The Commission has long drawn attention on the negative impacts of prolonged uncertainty on the health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers,” said Professor Triggs.

“We hope this new arrangement with the US will help to resolve some of this uncertainty,” she said.

The US has for many years maintained the largest refugee resettlement program in the world and has a long history of providing durable solutions to refugees.

Last year, the US resettled 66,517 refugees.

While there are limited details about the arrangement, the Commission looks forward to receiving further information in due course.

Professor Triggs also highlighted the need to consider a more comprehensive response to the challenges posed by flight by sea in our region.

Earlier this year, the Commission published the Pathways to Protection report, which explored rights-based strategies to prevent dangerous boat journeys. The report calls for the creation of more opportunities for safe entry to Australia and enhanced cooperation between Australia and countries in the region to improve the protection of refugees and people seeking asylum.

“While resettlement opportunities for those on Nauru and Manus are essential, we still need a long-term sustainable plan to address displacement in our region,” said Professor Triggs.

“We hope to continue to work with the Government on these important issues."