Refugee Camp on Island Will Close, Residents Say

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Asylum seekers and refugees have been sent to the island, in northern Papua New Guinea, as part of an agreement between the country and Australia. Under the deal, which has been condemned by human rights groups and the United Nations, people who tried to reach Australia by boat were placed in the detention center as their refugee claims were being considered.

Advocates for the detainees have described the complex, one of two offshore centers that Australia has financed in the South Pacific, as cramped with inadequate medical facilities, and have said that residents face violence and other abuse.

The majority of men at the detention center have been formally recognized as refugees. Those who have not have had their claims denied, or their cases are still being assessed or appealed. The United States has agreed to accept some of the refugees under an agreement reached by the Obama administration and subsequently criticized by President Trump.

Those who have not been recognized as refugees — with so-called negative status — have been told that they could voluntarily return to their countries of origin with a financial package from the Australian government that they have until Aug. 30 to accept, The Guardian reported.

Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian refugee who has been detained on Manus Island since 2013, said that those granted refugee status would be kept separate from those who had not been.

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