Weekly media wrap - 23 February

The Federal Government announced that four Sri Lankan asylum seekers were handed over to Sri Lankan authorities earlier this month. The men were determined not to be refugees after their boat was intercepted off the coast of the Cocos Islands. This interception is the first occurrence of on-water processing and transfer since the High Court ruled in January that offshore operations such as this are legal. Critics expressed concern about interceptions at sea and the quality of screening processes being undertaken when on water.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton visited Nauru to reaffirm the Australian Government’s bilateral agreement with the island nation to resettle Australian-bound refugees. Formal visit proceedings were disrupted by refugees protesting Australian asylum policy. Minister Dutton announced an open centre arrangement where selected asylum seekers would have more flexibility in coming and going from the Nauru detention centre within agreed times. Minister Dutton confirmed that 512 asylum seekers have been granted refugee status and 400 had been resettled in Nauru.

The anniversary of the death of Iranian Reza Barati was acknowledged and remembered on social media by thousands. Barati was killed one year ago on Manus Island during the rioting in the immigration detention centre.

An open letter to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, signed by 50 prominent Australians, expressed support for the Human Rights Commission’s Forgotten Children report and concern about the personal attacks on the Commission's President Gillian Triggs.

More than 2,100 migrants were rescued 160kms off the coast of Italian island Lampedusa by Italian and Maltese rescue vessels.