Immigration minister Peter Dutton said that the government had honoured its pledge “in spirit and in deed” to get all asylum seeker children out of immigration detention. The statement came as reports emerged that two children remain in immigration detention. Mr Dutton also vowed that all asylum seeker children who had been released would be sent to Nauru, once they and their families no longer needed medical support.
The High Court granted an urgent injunction to prevent an abortion being carried out on an asylum seeker who had been transferred to Papua New Guinea. Justice Patrick Keane, who presided over the hearing, said that the urgency of the matter and the gravity of the consequences for the plaintiff were sufficient to warrant the granting of the injunction.
On Nauru, two asylum seekers received medical treatment after police were summoned to respond to a protest at the Nauru regional processing centre. Footage, purportedly of the protest, emerged showing the confrontation between detainees and police. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection stated that seven service provider staff were injured while attempting to restore order. The asylum seekers are protesting against the Australia government’s refusal to allow them to apply for protection visas in Australia.
The Papua New Guinea government announced that it had finished its assessment of the claims to refugee status of the 850 men at the Manus Island detention centre. About 400 of the men were found to be refugees.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter announced that 180 refugees had been resettled as part of the government’s commitment to accept 12,000 refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria.
The first people were returned to Turkey under a recently implemented agreement between the European Union and Turkey. Under the agreement, all ‘irregular migrants’ arriving in Greece from Turkey face being sent back, and for every person sent back, a Syrian refugee will be resettled from Turkey to the EU. Refugees in on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios reacted angrily to the first deportations with some saying they would rather take their own lives than return to Turkey. In a statement, the UNHCR indicated that it did not oppose the agreement but that greater safeguards were needed to process asylum seekers in Greece.