“To offer those indefinitely detained offshore on Manus Island the opportunity to be moved to Nauru is terribly cruel,” said President McMillan.
“Detainees on Manus Island and Nauru are suffering in the absence of hope.
“They have already suffered too much. Many are likely to sustain significant and long-term damage to their mental health.
“Australians cannot absolve ourselves from ultimate moral responsibility for the welfare of these people, our fellow human beings.”
The Federal Government’s offer for relocation was made to refugees in the United States resettlement process in response to the increasing risk of violence on Manus Island.
If they go ahead transfers are expected to occur by the end of October.
The Uniting Church has been a longstanding advocate for onshore processing of refugees and asylum seekers, improved regional processing of claims and a significant increase to Australia's overall humanitarian intake.
As at 31 August 2017, there were 773 men detained in the Regional Processing Centre at Manus Island and 279 men, 47 women and 43 children detained on the Nauru Regional Processing Centre - an overall total of 1142 people.