The United Nations' refugee agency has accused the Federal Government of a breach of trust over the United States refugee deal, saying it has broken a promise to resettle refugees with close family ties to Australia.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, said the organization had "exceptionally" agreed to help resettle refugees on Nauru and Manus Island in the US because of the "dire" humanitarian situation they faced.
"We agreed to do so on the clear understanding that vulnerable refugees with close family ties in Australia would ultimately be allowed to settle there," Mr. Grandi said.
"[But] UNHCR has recently been informed by Australia that it refuses to accept even these refugees.
"This means, for example, that some with serious medical conditions, or who have undergone traumatic experiences, including sexual violence, cannot receive the support of their close family members residing in Australia."
The Federal Government has always maintained that no refugees on Manus Island or Nauru will ever be allowed to resettle in Australia.
But Catherine Stubberfield from the UNHCR's Canberra mission said they had a "clear understanding" that some people would be able to come here.
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