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>> What's the cost of spending more than two years in, quote, appalling and inhumane conditions? In monetary terms, 53 million US dollars. That's the amount of compensation being paid to 1,905 asylum seekers, held in a remote detention center in Papua New Guinea for more than two years. That sum being paid by the Australian government and contractors, G4S and Broad Spectrum who run the Manus Island facility.
Lawyers for the detainees say the men came to Australia seeking protection. Many were fleeing religious and political persecution only to find themselves indefinitely detained on Manus.>> This settlement is an important step towards recognizing the extremely hostile conditions that the detainees have had to endure at Manus Island.
The Australian government says it settled in order to spare tax payers the costs of a lengthy trial. The money will be distributed among former and current detainees based on the length of their detention, and the severity of illnesses and injuries they alleged they suffered. Manus Island is one of two Australian facilities for processing asylum seekers, that have attracted widespread criticism from the United Nations and human rights groups.
The other is on the tiny Pacific Island state of Nauru. The UN has called the offshore detention regime cruel, inhuman, and degrading. Australia has previously said the camps are the responsibility of the governments on whose territory they're located. And that's its tough immigration policies protect Australians. The detention scheme will soon come to an end under a refugee resettlement deal.
That will see the majority of those held in the two camps relocated to the United States, in exchange for Australia accepting refugees from Central America.