The New Zealand government announced on Thursday that it would be admitting 450 refugees over the next three years at the Australian Processing Center in Nauru, a small island nation in the Pacific.
In a statement, New Zealand Immigration Minister Chris Fafoe said, “New Zealand is very pleased that Australia has accepted the opportunity to relocate 150 refugees annually for three years.”
“We are delighted to welcome refugees facing an uncertain future,” Faafoi added.
Despite the agreement, Australia insisted that its strict immigration policies would continue and that anyone attempting to reach the country by sea without regulatory permission would be deported to the heart of Nauru.
“This agreement is not valid for anyone attempting to enter Australia illegally by sea in the future. Australia stands firm: those arriving by sea illegally should not stay here,” Australian Home Secretary Karen Andrews said.
In July last year, New Zealand granted asylum to Kurdish-Iranian writer and journalist Behroos Bouchani, who had been granted asylum for six years at an Australian-backed immigration center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
New Zealand took advantage of the fact that the author was in the country with a special visa to deliver the award-winning book, No Friends But the Mountains, which he wrote through the WhastApp application.
The case was an exception, although New Zealand authorities have for many years awarded a contract to welcome refugees undergoing training at Australian processing centers, third countries or on Australian soil.
Many of those trying to reach Australia on dangerous boat trips have fled conflicts in Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria; Others are Rohingya minorities in Burma (Myanmar) or survivors of discrimination such as the Bidun in the Gulf region.
Although these asylum seekers have been proven to be refugees, the Australian government is pursuing a policy of inflexibility.
In 2012, Australia resumed its policy of detaining “undocumented persons” in third countries and under conditions condemned by international organizations, including the UN. EFE
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