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Protesters in Britain demonstrate against Trump immigration policy

Several thousand people have protested in the UK against a US travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority nations. Critics see the ban as inflaming religious tensions and violating international laws on refugees. Thousands of people on Saturday heeded a call from rights groups and Muslim organizations in Britain to protest outside the US Embassy in London against President Trump's executive order suspending travel to the US from several Muslim-majority countries. Protesters held banners bearing slogans such as "No to Trump, No to War" and "Trump: Special Relationship? Just say no." The protest is taking place the day after a US judge temporarily suspended the order, saying the order had caused "immediate and irreparable injury." It is the third protest addressing various aspects of Trump's presidency to have taken place in the British capital in two weeks. A similar protest was to take place on Saturday afternoon before the US embassy in the Germany capital, Berlin. Trump, on Saturday, criticized a "so-called judge" for suspending the ban saying it was "ridiculous" and would be overturned. Anti-Muslim order? The executive order signed by Trump suspended entry to the United States to people traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen - for 90 days, as well as putting a temporary halt to the entire US refugee program.The administration said the move is designed to combat terrorism. The US State Department on Friday said that 60,000 visas had been revoked following Trump's order, after media reports quoted government lawyers as saying that more than 100,000 people had been affected. Critics of the order say that the ban has separated families, harmed thousands of US residents and goes against international law on taking in refugees fleeing conflict. Rights groups have also warned that the move could heighten religious tension and encourage Islamophobia. Australian protests The order also brought thousands of demonstrators onto the streets in Australia on Saturday, with protesters coupling their outrage at Trump's move with calls for Australia to close its offshore processing centers on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Australia's hardline refugee policy, which denies asylum to anybody attempting to enter the country by boat, has been slammed by rights groups, and the United Nations have called for the offshore centers to be shut amid allegations of violence, sexual assualt, degrading treatment and self-harm. The protests in Australia come following a diplomatic spat between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with Trump calling a deal between the two nations struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, "dumb." The deal is to see the United States taking up to 1,250 asylum-seekers held on Nauru and Manus to enable Canberra to stick to its "no boat" policy. In return, Australia would take in refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Trump later said he planned to stand by the agreement, which has been widely criticized in Australia. Student rallies against Trump's immigration policy were also held in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and outside the US embassy in the Philippine capital, Manila.

Several thousand people have protested in the UK against a US travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority nations. Critics see the ban as inflaming religious tensions and violating international laws on refugees. Thousands of people on Saturday heeded a call from rights groups and Muslim organizations in Britain to protest outside the US Embassy in London against President Trump’s executive ... Read More »

Australia reaches deal to send refugees languishing on islands to US

Australia has reached a resettlement deal with the United States for refugees held on two Pacific island detention centers. Canberra has come under international and domestic pressure over the camps. Refugees being held at controversial detention facilities on two isolated Pacific islands will be resettled in the United States, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Sunday. Asylum seekers who try to reach Australia by boat are sent to detention facilities on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and the small island nation of Nauru. Under Australia's strict border policy, they are prevented from receiving asylum even if found to be refugees. "The arrangements with the United States will offer the opportunity for refugees, both on Nauru and Manus, to be resettled," Turnbull told reporters in Canberra. "It is a one-off agreement. It will not be repeated ... Our priority is the resettlement of women, children and families." Australia has come under international and domestic pressure over the detention camps, where some refugees have been stuck in limbo for more than three years. Rights groups have criticized Australia, citing bad conditions and mental health problems associated with what amounts to keeping refugees in indefinite detention on the islands. US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed the resettlement deal, saying "we in the United States have agreed to consider referrals from [UN refugee body] UNHCR on refugees now residing in Nauru and in Papua New Guinea. "We know that these refugees are of special interest to UNHCR and we're very engaged with them on a humanitarian basis there and in other parts of the world," he told reporters in New Zealand on Sunday. Many refugees from Middle East, Asia It was unclear how the resettlement deal would proceed, with Donald Trump taking over the White House on January 20 after winning the US election this week. Trump campaigned on an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policy. Many of the refugees on the islands are Muslims from the Middle East and Asia. The Australian and US governments did not say how many refugees were part of the resettlement plan. But Turnbull said the agreement was reached much earlier. "There is a great deal of preparation and planning that has gone into it and, indeed, in leading up to this announcement." Out of more than 2000 applications, about 675 asylum seekers on Manus and another 941 on Nauru have received initial or final refugee status, according to Australia's immigration department. Asylum seekers whose applications are denied will be sent back to their countries. Refugees who refuse to go to the United States will be offered 20-year residency on Nauru, a poor and environmentally destroyed island. The Australian funded detention center is now the island's main source of income. Papua New Guinea has said it will close the detention center on Manus. Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the deal was not an incentive for people smugglers to send boatloads of people to Australia. Future boat arrivals will not be eligible for the deal.

Australia has reached a resettlement deal with the United States for refugees held on two Pacific island detention centers. Canberra has come under international and domestic pressure over the camps. Refugees being held at controversial detention facilities on two isolated Pacific islands will be resettled in the United States, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Sunday. Asylum seekers who try ... Read More »

Papua New Guinea announces Australian refugee center closure

A Supreme Court ruling means an Australian-run refugee detention facility on Papua New Guinea is illegal and must close. Now PNG is working with Australia to find a new place for the refugees to go. The island nation of Papua New Guinea has announced it will close a center for asylum seekers it had been hosting on behalf of Australia. This comes a day after the Supreme Court in Papa New Guinea deemed it was unconstitutional to allow Australia to detain asylum seekers on the country's Manus Island. "Respecting this ruling, Papua New Guinea will immediately ask the Australian government to make alternative arrangements for the asylum-seekers currently held at the regional processing center," Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said in a statement on Wednesday. No exceptions Australian policy regarding those who attempt to enter the country illegally by boat is to reject them and send them to detention camps, paid for by the Australian government, in Papua New Guinea and the island nation of Nauru. Those found to have legitimate claims for asylum can be resettled in Papua New Guinea or Cambodia under agreements reached between Australia and those two countries. Regarding the current asylum seekers on Manus Island, O'Neill said that legitimate refugees were welcome to live in Papua New Guinea "only if they want to be a part of our society and make a contribution to our community," but added: "It is clear that several of these refugees do not want to settle in Papua New Guinea and that is their decision." There are currently over 800 asylum seekers being held on Manus Island, and Papua New Guinea will now being working with Australian officials about where to relocate the people being detained. Australia has made it clear that under no circumstances will they be resettled in Australia. Self-immolation Meanwhile, a 23-year-old refugee in an Australian-run detention facility on Nauru is set to be airlifted to an Australian hospital after setting himself on fire Tuesday during a routine visit of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to the facility. According to news reports, the man shouted "I can not take this any more" before setting himself on fire. Bystanders quickly attempted to douse the flames with water and blankets. The man is in critical condition, but Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said his application for asylum would not be influenced.

A Supreme Court ruling means an Australian-run refugee detention facility on Papua New Guinea is illegal and must close. Now PNG is working with Australia to find a new place for the refugees to go. The island nation of Papua New Guinea has announced it will close a center for asylum seekers it had been hosting on behalf of Australia. ... Read More »

Australian High Court rules refugee offshore detention legal

Australia's top court has thrown out a suit brought by a refugee against its remote migrant detention centers. Hundreds of refugees now face deportation back to the island of Nauru in the south Pacific. A group of more than 260 asylum seekers may have to return to the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru, after Australia's highest court on Wednesday rejected the challenge they mounted to Canberra's immigration detention policy. The Australian government does not allow any refugees who arrive by boat to stay or resettle on the mainland, with few exceptions outside of medical emergencies. This is the situation that gave rise to the suit, led by a Bangladeshi woman who was sent to Nauru in January 2014 to live in one of Australia's offshore refugee camps. After being sent to Australia in August of that year due to pregnancy complications, she gained an injunction to let her stay on the mainland until her case was heard. She was later joined by 266 other asylum seekers, 91 of them children, who had come to Australia from the Nauru camp for medical reasons or to accompany a sick family member. Migrants have long complained about the conditions in these camps, such as the one on Christmas Island, which has seen a string of protests launched by detainees upset at their treatment and uncertain fate. The majority of the seven judges on the Australian High Court however voted to throw out the case, arguing that deporting the refugees back to Nauru was in keeping with the country's policy. The 267 migrants now risk being sent back to the remote island with only 72 hours notice. 'Fundementally wrong' "The legality is one thing, the morality is another," said Daniel Webb of the Human Rights Law Centre, the Melbourne-based legal advocacy who was working the case against the government for the asylum seekers. "It is fundamentally wrong to condemn these people to a life in limbo on a tiny island. The stroke of a pen is all that it would take our prime minister or our immigration minister to do the decent thing and let these families stay," he added. Canberra has come under some international criticism for its offshore detention policy, but so far has refused to budge on the matter. On the weekend, major Australian newspaper Fairfax reported 'epidemic' levels of self-harm taking place within Australia's offshore detention centers, about one case every two days.

Australia’s top court has thrown out a suit brought by a refugee against its remote migrant detention centers. Hundreds of refugees now face deportation back to the island of Nauru in the south Pacific. A group of more than 260 asylum seekers may have to return to the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru, after Australia’s highest court on Wednesday rejected ... Read More »

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