Only Two Rwandans Resettled In Stalled US Refugee Deal
Two Rwandans are the only people to be resettled as part of the government's refugee deal with the United States, Peter Dutton has admitted.
In a bombshell report by Politico last month, it was revealed two men accused of killing a group of tourists in Uganda in 1999 were resettled in Australia late last year.
The two men were arrested and brought to America on terrorism charges, alongside a third man, and reportedly confessed to the crime under torture. However, a US judge ruled their confessions inadmissible in 2006, leaving the three in immigration limbo ever since.
"We don't have plans to bring any others from America at this stage," Peter Dutton said on ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.
"But we'll look at discussions with the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, they're our closest partners. Into the future, we'll see what happens."
When host Annabel Crabb pushed Dutton for reassurance these men were not a danger to the community, he questioned the facts of the case.
"You need to look at the historical perspective around the circumstances, what has happened in the intervening period," he said.
He later added "we'll not take someone who is a risk to the Australian people," but could not say where the men had been resettled.
When the deal was struck between then-leaders Malcolm Turnbull and Barack Obama, it was understood Australia would offer a quid pro quo by taking some asylum seekers from the US, expected to come from camps in central America.
Turnbull later told US President Donald Trump under the deal, "we will take anyone that you want us to take."
A total of 531 refugees have left Manus and Nauru and travelled to the United States, Dutton said, while another 295 have been approved and are waiting for flights.
More than 300 refugees have been rejected by the US's vetting procedures, Dutton said, which have been described as "extreme".
Dutton also confirmed there are no refugees on Christmas Island, where the government reopened a detention centre with much fanfare and a $185 million price tag to cope with what it claimed would be a flood of sick asylum seekers who would arrive.
Amid debate around the legislation in February, Dutton released advice from security agencies that the laws would allow people in the centres accused of serious crimes to come to Australia for medical treatment.
But asked on Sunday whether any of these people had come, he said: "I don't know the answer to that question in terms of the concerns that we have about individuals."
The government intends to scrap the medevac law soon after the new parliament convenes in July, and Dutton said he understood Labor was now open to supporting that repeal or a winding back of its provisions.
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