Executive Summary for October 31st

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the closure of Australia’s Manus Island refugee center, Algeria’s deportation of migrants and New Zealand’s plans for humanitarian visas for climate refugees.

Published on Oct. 31, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Australia Begins Closure of Manus Center as Refugees Refuse to Leave

Australia moved to close its offshore refugee center on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island but hundreds of asylum seekers refused to leave out of fear for their safety on the island.

Australia’s private security contractors and other staff left the site as the October 31 deadline for its closure arrived. Authorities warned some 600 men living there that water, power and food would cease later that day and the site would be transferred to the Papua New Guinean military.

Refugees tried to barricade themselves into the compound. Most Manus detainees have refused to relocate to another center on the island or Australia’s other offshore camp on the Pacific island of Nauru.

Recent violent attacks against refugees on Manus have made the residents in the center fear for their security. Amid the center closure, there were protests against refugees in Lorengau, a Manus town.

Papua New Guinea and Australia both said the other’s government was responsible for the remaining refugees.

Lawyers with the Sydney-based Refugee Action Coalition filed an injunction against the closure of the center to Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court, which ruled the center unconstitutional last year – pushing Australia to close the facility.

Algeria Deports 3,000 Migrants to Niger

Algeria has stepped up the deportation of sub-Saharan African migrants to Niger in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said.

The rights group found more than 3,000 people had been deported since August 25, including some who had lived in Algeria for years and at least 25 unaccompanied children.

While around 15 asylum seekers and refugees were initially caught up in the detention sweep, they were released by authorities once their asylum status was confirmed.

Algerian officials have recently warned that migrants represent a security threat to the country. Human Rights Watch urged Algeria to give migrants an opportunity to challenge their deportation.

New Zealand Plans Humanitarian Visas for Climate Refugees

New Zealand plans to create humanitarian visas for people from the Pacific who are displaced as seas rise because of climate change, the Guardian reported.

The country’s new climate change minister James Shaw said the “experimental humanitarian visa category” was under discussion in partnership with the Pacific islands.

Shaw’s Green party, which is part of a coalition government, promised 100 visas to people displaced by climate change during the election campaign.

New Zealand’s immigration authorities recently ruled that two families impacted by climate change in Tuvalu could not be recognized as refugees under the Refugee Convention’s definition, which is based on the fear of persecution. The new humanitarian visas are one effort to bridge the gap over climate displacement in the refugee framework.

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