United States President Donald Trump called refugee resettlement deal with Australia “the worst deal ever,” which was signed by the Obama administration to resettle nearly 1,200 asylum seekers being held on Pacific island camps.

Trump accused Australia of trying to export the “next Boston bombers”. The telephone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had been scheduled to last an hour but Trump cut it short after 25 minutes when Turnbull tried to turn to subjects such as Syria.

Changing Opinions?

White House spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed on Wednesday that Trump had agreed to honor the deal made by his predecessor. But a White House statement sent to Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday says otherwise. It reads:

The president is still considering whether or not he will move forward with this deal at this time.

Turnbull on the other hand says that a mere tweet doesn’t change commitments, he said:

We have a commitment from the US president, confirmed several times now by the government.

About The Deal

The deal was signed by The Obama Administration in November, days after Trump was elected. Under the agreement Australia would transfer 1,250 refugees currently held in offshore detention centers and transfer would be administered by the UN High Commission on Refugees.

The refugees hail from the Middle East and South Asia but the majority are from Iran. Most of them were detained after arriving by boat as they were brought to Australia by people smugglers across a dangerous sea route.

Plight of the Refugees

The refugees who initially came to Australia to seek refuge were instead being detained on Pacific island camps. Conditions in the camps are very poor and International Pressure on Australian government to solve the issue.

According to a UN committee report multiple cases of “attempted suicide, self-immolation, acts of self-harm and depression” were found among children who had lived in prolonged “detention-like conditions.”

During a press conference in November of last year Turnbull said, “Nobody is taking any more refugees, but what the Americans are doing is assisting these individuals on Nauru and Manus by bringing them in within their existing quota.”

An Iranian asylum seeker responded to details about the call between Trump and Turnbull told CNN, “We are not toys to play with.”

Alex Reilly, deputy dean of University of Adelaide Law School said, “”People are in terrible conditions on Nauru, it’s a huge embarrassment for the government, which needs now to resettle people as a matter of urgency.”


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