The United States is close to reaching a deal with Australia which would allow the countries to resettle migrants detained in the refugee centers that each country hold outside of their country.
Australia has about 1,800 migrants in camps on islands in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Human rights critics have called these camps “Australia’s Guantanamo Bay” following reports of inhumane treatment.
Donald Trump’s election as the next president has put a new urgency to Australia’s pursuit of the deal after Papua New Guinea ordered the closure of the Australian-run detention centers. According to the Wall Street Journal, both Australia and the United States have declined to comment on the possible agreement.
Many of the refugees have fled conflict or economic strife in the Middle East and have expressed their support for the deal but not before holding Australia accountable for their mistreatment.
The Guardian reports the story of an Iranian refugee who has been physically assaulted twice since being detained on Manus Island.
“They took my past three years of life. I was born in 1992 and when I arrived here I was almost 21 years,” he said. “Now I’m 24. I missed best days of my life to go and have fun or go to university or play sport. The Australian government keep me in indefinite detention. They have to pay for this.”
The deal is all the more urgent because of Australia’s law that prevents detained refugees from being able to rejoin Australia.