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Australia to move Nauru asylum kids by year’s end
04 November 2018, 09:48 | Erica Roy
READ MORENauru detainees flown to South Australia Refugee advocates
It's believed there are now fewer than 40 asylum seeker children on Nauru.
Some have languished on Nauru for as many as five years and doctors and refugee groups have expressed increasing concern about their health and well-being.
According to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the 41 families moved to Australia included eight who were moved by court order, 21 under concessions made after legal intervention, and 12 moved at the initiative of Australian Border Force.
"There are hardly any children on Nauru and in New Guinea and we expect that by the end of this year there will be none", he told LBC radio. Anyone who attempts the journey is now sent to remote camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manu Island for processing.
The Australian asylum seeker debate reignited earlier this month when the government said it was willing to accept an offer from New Zealand to take 150 refugees - but only if Labor agreed to support legislation banning those refugees from ever travelling to Australia.
Morrison's ruling Liberal Party is on course to lose its one-seat parliamentary majority as voters in a Sydney electorate look set to select an independent lawmaker to replace former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The detention facility on Nauru has been used to detain asylum seekers who attempted to come to Australia by boat since 2012.
Ahead of a crucial Sydney by-election last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison flirted with the idea of allowing some refugees to be transferred to New Zealand, although they would still be blocked from entering Australia.
Past year a number of asylum seekers left Manus Island for the United States.
Under a deal with former USA president Barack Obama, 439 people of a potential 1,250 have so far been resettled from Manus and Nauru to the United States.
"All doctors are really concerned that that level will get to the stage where suicidal ideation will become real, that we will either lose children through suicide or lose children through the Resignation Syndrome, where they become so profoundly depressed that they would rather be dead than continue the mental pain that they have at the moment".
Gillian Triggs, former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), described it as "remarkably good news" but said more had to be done for adult detainees. "They are being moved to Australia on a case-by-case basis if that is required for urgent and significant medical treatment", he said. "And we can end this nightmare today". Last week, the government said that number was down to 52.
"Once people have received their medical assistance, then the expectation is that they will return to their country of origin", Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said today when asked about children being moved to Australia.
Nearly 6,000 Australian doctors signed an open letter to the prime minister last month urging the government to transfer children from Nauru to Australia for medical and psychological treatment.
Protesters at the "Kids off, everyone off; close Manus and Nauru".
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That means providing protection that is "critical to national security, from a threat or aggression against the United States". US President Donald Trump has deployed thousands of troops to the border as part of his crack down on illegal immigration.