A further 18 refugees left Manus Island for resettlement in the United States of America, in addition to the 22 who left the island earlier in the week. The Australian reported that it is expected that more refugees who are currently on Manus Island and Nauru will transfer to the United States by the end of this month, bringing the total number of people accepted to about 200. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton confirmed that 135 refugees had transferred to the United States from Manus Island and Nauru. UNHCR raised concern about Australia’s offshore regime and urged for alternative solutions to be found.
Two groups of asylum seekers from El Salvador were in Costa Rica, reportedly for clearance to resettle in Australia, however immigration officials denied a link to the refugee deal with the United States.
A Sri Lankan asylum seeker was ordered for deportation from Australia on 22 February by the Australian Border Force. The Tamil asylum seeker has reportedly refused to sign the order. The United Nations Committee Against Torture requested in October 2017 that Australia not move the asylum seeker while it investigates whether he will be tortured if he is returned against his will.
While Japan received 19,628 applications for refugee status, only 20 asylum seekers were accepted last year. Figures released this week showed that the number of applicants in 2017 rose by 80% from a year earlier, when 28 out of almost 11,000 requests were recognised.