30 Mar 2005

Nauru says it won't be sending any asylum seekers home

3:48 pm on 30 March 2005

The Nauru Government says it will not be forcing any of the 54 asylum seekers on Nauru to return to the countries they came from up to four years ago.

The 54 are being held by Australia in its Nauru Offshore Processing Centre but are not affected by recent Australian immigration decision to release some long-term detainees into the community in Australia on "removal pending" bridging visas.

Australia's Department of Immigration has said the 54 are failed asylum seekers who are in Nauru legally, and any decisions on involuntary returns would need to be made by Nauru.

The Nauru Finance and Justice Minister, David Adeang, says there's no way Nauru will force them to leave.

"We're simply not in a position to be forcing anybody ,really. The first thing that comes to mind as Minister of Finance is that that would incur extra budgetary cost to me, budgetary cost that's unplanned and simply not in our interests at this time."

But David Adeang rejects concern about the asylum seekers' plight, saying they are better fed and cared for than most Nauruans themselves."