Australia says will remove asylum seeker children from Nauru immigration camps

Australia will move all asylum-seeker children off the Pacific island of Nauru by the end of the year, officials said Thursday, but rights groups have called for the government to end the "in limbo" status that accompanies them and their families. "The mental and physical conditions of these children on Nauru have been devastating". "That's been happening for some time", Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 2GB radio on Thursday.

"We all worry about our situation, what will happen to us, what they will do to us after they evacuate all the kids from Nauru", he said. "I haven't been showboating about it, I haven't been drawing attention to it".

"It's been done in accordance with our policies, our existing policies, and I obviously don't go into the operational arrangements", he added. Last week, there were 52 children on the island.

'It's wonderful how quickly things can happen when there is a political benefit - so things happening swiftly, ' guest Rachel Corbett remarked.

'What happened on Monday when we were being told how Nauru is a tropical paradise and people live there and it's not so bad?' he said.

Pressure has mounted on the government to make an exception for children, but some government lawmakers argue that would only encourage asylum seekers to put children at risk by bringing them on treacherous voyages to Australia on rickety fishing boats.

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Nauru and Manus Island processing facilities cost $1 billion a year to run.

"It's taken court hearings and a groundswell from the community to get the government to act to get these kids off Nauru", Newhouse said.

439 people have accepted resettlement in the United States, out of 1250 places offered.

"Even when you bring them to Australia, if you leave families with a sense of uncertainty, it is going to be very hard for the children to recover", he added.

Australia has all but ended the people-smuggling traffic from Southeast Asian ports since it announced that any asylum seekers who attempt reach Australian shores by boat from July 19, 2013, would never be allowed to settle in Australia.

10 children are in hospital.

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They are scattered throughout the country under varying restrictions - some in onshore detention, some in the community with limited working and education rights - but none are allowed the opportunity to be settled.

New Zealand has also offered to take some of the refugees, but Australia has declined the offer because it fears that would allow asylum seekers to enter through the "back door". But NZ deal to take 150 people is now off the table. "They are being moved to Australia on a case-by-case basis if that is required for urgent and significant medical treatment", he said.

'I thought that was a no-no.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Center urged the government to "transfer all 38 children and their families to Australia immediately for proper medical care to save lives".

Humanitarian medical professionals expelled from Nauru last month, Doctors Without Borders, said asylum seekers there had become suicidal and their children had lost hope.

The planned protest will coincide with Universal Children's Day.

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Meanwhile, up to 500 school teachers are expected to join a mass walkout in Melbourne later this month in protest against the detention of asylum seekers on Nauru.

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