11:54 GMT12 May 2021
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    Australia is currently negotiating with the Philippines for the resettlement of undocumented immigrants who have been refused asylum by Canberra, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced on Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — "We have had bilateral discussions with other countries, including the Philippines at an officials level and ministerial level over a number of months," Dutton told reporters as quoted by the local 9News TV channel.

    Asked by journalists about the risks refugees might face due to security threats, including terror attacks and kidnappings in the Philippines, the minister suggested that after "considering all of the facts the person will take up that offer or reject it."

    Australia has an existing agreement with Cambodia, signed in September 2014, to pay Cambodia nearly $30 million for refugee resettlement. Under the deal, Cambodia agreed to host an unlimited number of refugees that had been turned away from Australia.

    A number of civic groups criticized Australia’s resettlement deal, pointing out Cambodia’s poor living conditions, reportedly unsuitable for accepting refugees.

    In early October, a report by the International Detention Coalition in Geneva revealed that the Australian government spends $2.3 billion on migration detention centers annually, twice that of Europe and the United States.

    According to the study, Australia’s detention costs are due to the government’s decision to run detention centers in remote locations, such as Christmas Island, Nauru, and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

    Refugees primarily from Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan seek to gain asylum in Australia.


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