Q COSTA RICA – The 200 Central American refugees offered temporary protection in Costa Rica and to be taken in by Australia, are getting caught up in a political row between Australia and the United States.
Last July Costa Rica agreed with the U.S. to temporarily host up to six months 200 refugees of the
Northern Triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) fleeing violence, rape and kidnappings.
In September, at former U.S. President Barack Obama’s global migration summit in New York, Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, said his country would take in the refugees.
However, Costa Rica may end up getting stuck with the refugees if Turnbull and President Donald Trump cannot iron out their political differences.
On Wednesday, Australian Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, said his government expects the United States to accept refugees from Manus Island and Nauru or else it would not accept the Central American refugees in Costa Rica.
Following Trump’s inauguration last month, Turnbull said Trump agreed during a phone conversation he planned to honor the deal Australia struck with former President Obama — a deal Trump lambasted as a “bad deal” – to accept a number of Indonesian refugees held at camps in Naura and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
In exchange, Australia would take in Central American refugees from Costa Rica.
Under Trump’s policies of “extreme vetting” of refugees, the deal could come apart, which could lead to the United States refusing to accept any refugees from Australia.
“We wouldn’t take anyone until we had assurances that people would get off Nauru and Manus,” Dutton told Sky News Australia. “One of the lessons that we’ve learned from past arrangements, say the Malaysia deal for example … we accept all the people from Malaysia, not one person went from Australia. So we’re not going to be sucked into that sort of silly outcome.”
“We are seeking to resettle a number of people who came via the people-smuggling trade and have been in Nauru, in particular, with the United States but we will continue to take refugees from across the world, as we’ve always done,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said after meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.