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GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATION OVER NAURU TRANSFERS

With the arrival of three more asylum boats in the last 24 hours, the
total number of asylum seekers reaching Australia since 13 August is
now over 2100 – enough to fill both Nauru and Manus Island.

“The Minister’s announcement that asylum seekers will be moved to
Nauru is just shabby political posturing,” said Ian Rintoul speaking
on behalf of the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Chris Bowen has already said that neither Nauru nor Manus Island will
be operational for months – meanwhile Australian detention centres
will fill with long-term detainees.

“After capitulating to the Opposition over Nauru, the government’s
Pacific Solution 2.0 is already in tatters. Asylum seekers sent to
Nauru will be paying a high price for the government’s policy
disaster.  Condemned to tents for months, they will face shocking
conditions as the wet season runs from November to April. Nauru and
Manus Island will become long-term refugee prisons.

“The government’s own policies are pushing more people into asylum
boats. Despite the announcement that 400 UNHCR refugees would be
brought from Indonesia immediately, nothing is actually happening to
bring the UNHCR refugees from Indonesia. Tamil refugees who were told
in January that they had been accepted by Australia are still waiting
in Indonesia. Many of them now believe that the only way they will get
to Australia is get a boat and come via Nauru.”

The Refugee Action Coalition is also concerned at what criteria the
Minister and the Immigration Department is using to select the
individuals for transfer to Nauru.

“We are looking at a highly selective, punitive and potentially
discriminatory process. Without the criteria being made public, we
cannot be confident that individual asylum seekers or groups of asylum
seekers are not being discriminated against.

“Are Iranians, Tamils or stateless people likely to be selected
because the Minister thinks that primary acceptance rate or the
likelihood of coercing people is an acceptable basis to select those
to be taken to Nauru?” asked Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713