22 Jun 2005

Last children detained on Nauru to be freed within days

7:32 pm on 22 June 2005

Australia's Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, has granted humanitarian visas to allow the last four children detained on Nauru to be released.

45 long-term detainees on Nauru have not been covered by recent Australian Immigration decisions governing onshore detainees.

Their lawyer, Marion Le, says the four children are part of one family and comprise two boys aged 15 and nine, and girls aged 14 and seven.

They are said to have suffered severe mental and emotional stress on Nauru and were the subject of special pleas from former detainees freed recently to live in Australia.

Ms Le says they will arrive in Australia within days with their parents and possibly a further three adults in their extended family.

She says Ms Vanstone had to do something about the children on Nauru.

"This has come about because of, I think, the submissions that we've been putting in, or have put in, some new information in relation to the family and their identity. The Afghan Embassy has also welcomed the news, they sent a team with some people from Afghanistan last week, and did some thorough interviews with the people still on Nauru in an attempt to satisfy themselves and the Australian Government that they were all from Afghanistan and not from Pakistan or elsewhere."

Ms Le says their departure will leave between 36 and 39 in the Nauru camp.