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Refugees Deeply is designed to help you understand the complex web of geopolitical, human rights, environmental, legal and other factors combining to make the refugee issue one of the most challenging of our lifetimes. Our editors and expert contributors are working around the clock to bring you greater clarity and comprehensive coverage.

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Executive Summary for September 21st

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the first group of refugees to resettle in the U.S. under a deal with Australia, the difficulties of getting aid to Rohingya refugees, and a Pew study showing long waits for asylum decisions in Europe.

Published on Sep. 21, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

U.S. Accepts First Group of Refugees From Australia’s Offshore Centers

A first group, of around 50, refugees in Australian offshore detention will be resettled in the U.S. under an Obama-era deal.

Trump condemned the deal when he took office and, while he pledged to honor it, his suspension of refugee resettlement cast doubt on the future of some 1,600 people held by Australia on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the U.S. announcement as “good news.”

Fairfax Media reports that Australian and U.N. officials are confident the U.S. will take in a total of 1,250 refugees, but it may take up to a year for them to be resettled.

Australia pledged to close the Manus Island center, which was declared unconstitutional by Papua New Guinea’s High Court, by October 31. Refugees have refused to relocate to another part of the island, fearing for their safety.

Aid Workers Killed Delivering Aid to Rohingya

Nine Bangladeshi aid workers working for the International Committee of the Red Cross were killed in a truck crash in Bangladesh while bringing aid to Rohingya refugees.

Inside Myanmar, another Red Cross delivery, to Rohingya in Rakhine state, was attacked by a Buddhist mob, before police and monks intervened.

The effort to bring aid to over 420,000 new refugees and to those trapped inside Rakhine state has been hampered by poor weather, Myanmar government restrictions and the sheer scale of the displacement.

The chaotic situation in Bangladesh has left Rohingya refugees at risk of trafficking, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned.

“Most have no money, no food, no clean water, no shelter and don’t speak the language,” said IOM’s Asia-Pacific spokesman Chris Lom. “That leaves them potentially at the mercy of anyone offering help and they may end up as victims of trafficking.”

Pew: Half of New Arrivals in Europe Still Awaiting Asylum Decision

Around half of the asylum seekers who arrived in Europe since 2015 were still waiting for a decision on their application by the end of last year, said the Pew Research Center.

Some 2.2 million asylum seekers arrived in Europe in 2015 and 2016. The Center found that by the end of 2016, 52 percent were awaiting decisions, 40 percent had been approved and 3 percent had been expelled.

The study also found wide variations between waiting periods in different countries. In Germany, which received the highest number of asylum seekers, around 49 percent were waiting for decisions, while in Hungary the number was 94 percent and in Greece it stood at 90 percent.

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