2 Apr 2003

No Iraqi on Nauru accepts voluntary repatriation offered by Australia

11:27 am on 2 April 2003

The International Organisation of Migration says none of the 95 Iraqis detained on Nauru who have been offered voluntary repatriation by Australia have said they will go after their applications for refugee status have been rejected.

The IOM's chief of mission in Sydney, Dennis Nihill, says counsellors on Nauru are constantly talking to the asylum seekers who have had their application for refugee status denied.

He says not one has indicated any desire to be voluntarily repatriated to Iraq.

"I think what happens in Iraq is the big question. It's also possible that even before the war we thought that were some who might want to return to other countries where they may have permanent residence for example. And that sometimes just happens over time when they realise that other options are not going to be reviewed."

Mr Nihill says none of the 95 Iraqis has said whether they have 3rd country residency.