Australia, Philippines negotiating asylum seeker transfer deal

By Matt Siegel SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia is negotiating a deal with the Philippines to transfer asylum seekers being held indefinitely in controversial detention centers on remote, impoverished islands, Australia’s immigration minister said on Friday. Asylum seekers have long been a contentious political issue in Australia, although it has never received anywhere near the number of refugees currently flooding into Europe as they flee conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. Successive Australian governments have vowed to stop asylum seekers reaching the mainland, turning boats back to Indonesia when it can and sending those it cannot for detention in camps on Manus island in Papua New Guinea and on the tiny South Pacific island of Nauru.

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