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Asylum seekers leave Manus for US

Asylum seekers leave Manus for US”

A second group of about 30 refugees held in Australian-run detention centres on South Pacific islands will leave soon for resettlement in the United States under a controversial refugee swap deal, a USA official said on Tuesday.

The first group - including men from Bangladesh, Sudan and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar - left Manus, which is in Papua New Guinea, on Sunday, officials have confirmed, and will be on their way to the U.S. on Wednesday.

Another group are expected to be moved from the island nation of Nauru in coming days.

Beverly Thacker, public affairs officer for the US embassy in Papua New Guinea, said a second group would leave soon from the other centre on the tiny island of Nauru.

"They will be resettled under our normal refugee resettlement processes".

Boats are instead intercepted and the passengers detained in camps on Nauru and Manus Island while their refugee claims are processed.

The 22 men have been accepted by the U.S. under a deal reached between Australia and the Obama administration.

There was not, however, any obligation for the United States to take a specific number of refugees.

Thacker did not provide the nationalities of the those being transferred and it is not clear how many of those still remaining will qualify for U.S. resettlement.

"They have been approved for travel to the U.S. under the same stringent vetting process that apply to all refugees", she said.

Refugee advocates said another group of at least 27 people on Nauru, including women and children, were due to depart on September 27.

The US is not bound to take a set number of refugees, so the final number of people in Australia's offshore detention centres who will be resettled remains unknown.

He said that those who remain on Manus and Nauru want the Australian government to "answer our simple questions", which include "how many people will go to America, when will they go and what is your plan for those left behind?".



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