27 May 2005

Australian groups says Nauru detainees may be deported despite errors

4:38 pm on 27 May 2005

The A Just Australia refugee rights lobby group in Australia says major errors in the processing of claims from detainees on Nauru may not help some of them fight deportation.

A lawyer for 54 detainees held on the island of Nauru for up to four years says she has discovered major incompetence by the Immigration Department in the processing of their cases.

The lawyer, Marion Le, says there may now be light at the end of the tunnel for the detainees.

But the national coordinator of the A Just Australia group, Kate Gauthier, says detainees on Nauru who were thought to be Pakistanis and are now known to be Afghanis may yet be deported.

Ms Gauthier says Australia plans to deport Afghanis in Australia and on Nauru to Afghanistan.

"That may well happen. That's what the government is attempting to do. Our hope, and we have been long calling for this, is that all the people on Nauru should have been brought to the Australian mainland. there has been a lot of problems with the processing of their claims."

Kate Gauthier.

The Australian Immigration Department has said any forced repatriations of those on Nauru would be up to the Nauruan Government.

But Nauru's Foreign Minister, David Adeang, says that is not on Nauru's agenda.