Eight refugees, single men previously held on Manus Island, flew from Port Moresby today, Tuesday, 18 September, to be resettled in the US.

The eight are single men, one Iranian, two Tamils, two Pakistanis, two Rohingyan and one Afghan.

The total number of refugees from Manus accepted by the US so far, is just 130. Over 600 remain on Manus or in Port Moresby.

The Iranian refugee is the only Iranian from Manus Island that has been accepted by the United States this year. One Iranian refugee was also accepted from Nauru on 29 July.

But the two Iranians are the ‘exception that proves the rule’ that the Trump travel ban remains in place; every other Iranian refugee on Manus and Nauru considered by the US this year has been rejected.

Today’s flight coincides with the announcement that the US will cut its refugee intake for the next year to just 45,000; yet another indication that on top of the travel ban, the Trump administration has made the US a less welcoming place for refugees.

Meanwhile the 46 year-old Iraqi refugee who swallowed the razor blades last Friday is still in hospital waiting for treatment, despite suffering severe abdominal pain. Since Sunday, he has been shuttled back and forward between the PIH (Pacific International Hospital) and the Port Moresby general hospital, after he self-harmed by cutting his head in the bathroom of PIH.

PIH has no facility for acute mental health patients. He has now been sent back to PIH for an x-ray to try and locate the razor blades and nail-cutter that he swallowed.

“The medical mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru is an inextricable element of offshore detention, that has to end,” said Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition.

“By bringing the asylum seekers and refugees to Australia, the government could end the crisis on Manus and Nauru and channel the billions of dollars being used to maintain offshore detention to properly fund aged care.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713