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Thursday, March 23, 2023

New Zealand to accept 450 refugees from Australian processing centers

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participates in a televised debate with national leader Judith Collins on TVNZ in Auckland, New Zealand on September 22, 2020. Fiona Goodall/Poole via REUTERS/File Photo

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WELLINGTON, March 24 (Reuters). The New Zealand government said on Thursday that over the next three years it will accept a total of 450 asylum seekers in Australia or its offshore detention center in Nauru in the South Pacific.

Australia’s stringent immigration policy requires that asylum seekers intercepted at sea attempting to enter Australia be directed to offshore detention centres. They are told they will never settle in Australia and many have spent years in limbo.

“We are delighted to be able to provide resettlement results for refugees who would otherwise continue to face an uncertain future,” New Zealand Immigration Minister Chris Faafoi said in a statement.

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The statement said New Zealand will host 150 refugees a year for the next three years, and they will follow the same Refugee Quota Program screening and evaluation process as other refugees entering the country.

Australia had previously rejected New Zealand’s offer to accept asylum seekers as it was in talks with the United States to resettle some of them. [https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-newzealand-refugees-idUSKCN1L81FB]

The United States has taken in just under a thousand refugees from Australian processing centers, while 112 remain on Nauru, according to data from the Australian Refugee Council in January.

Other asylum seekers are in Australian custody.

Human rights groups have condemned Australia’s treatment of refugees and conditions in detention centres, but Australia defends the approach because it believes it keeps people from dangerous sea journeys to reach its shores.

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Reporting by Lucy Crimer; Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

World Nation News Desk
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