Nauru refugees petition Australia

About 500 refugees detained by Australia on Nauru have signed a petition demanding they be moved to Australia and New Zealand.

Around 1100 refugees remain in the island nation, including about 150 children, where most have been kept for almost five years.

The petition also demands more information and a timetable on resettlement in the United States.

Twenty seven refugees from Nauru have so far been accepted by the US with about 130 more due to go in the coming weeks
The refugees said they wanted to be moved from Nauru and reunited with family members pending the outcome of their applications for US asylum.

They said they their lives were in limbo and that more of them are becoming metally ill as well as committing acts of self harm.

They also claimed their children were not being educated on Nauru.

The refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said the refugees staged another protest on Wednesday after the petition was sent to the Australian government.

He said the slow progress of US resettlement, which was agreed to in November 2016, showed Australia did not have “any real plan” to resettle all the refugees detained on Manus and Nauru.

“Trump’s ban on Iranians and Somalis means that around a third of all the offshore refugees are still in limbo more than four years after they were sent to Manus or Nauru,” said Mr Rintoul.

“Refugees are paying a high price for Peter Dutton’s policy failures. Each week sees more people brought to Australia for medical treatment they can’t get on Nauru,” he said.

“There are no excuses for offshore detention. New Zealand has repeated its offer for the Nth time to take 150 refugees.”

Mr Rintoul said Australia had deliberately separated some of the refugee families it detained including a Somali woman and her Iranian husband who had never seen his baby daughter.