27 Jan 2004

UNHCR says NZ government's decision to take 20 Nauru refugees will reunite families

4:20 pm on 27 January 2004

The Pacific representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Michel Gabaudan, says his organisation is very happy with the New Zealand to accept 20 detainees from Nauru.

The nine Iraqi women and their 11 children will be allowed to leave the Australian-run camp in Nauru and be accepted as part of the New Zealand's annual quota of 750 refugees.

Mr Gabaudan says the women's husbands are in Australia on so-called temporary protection visas

"Australia will not recognise family reunification for people with a temporary protection visa and we thought it was high time to reunite these women and children with their spouse and father after a fairly long detention on Nauru."

Michel Gabaudan says the status of another 22 Nauru detainees is being looked at again, as a result of the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan province from which they come.