23 May 2007

Sri Lankans in Nauru camp await legal assistance

10:34 am on 23 May 2007

The Australian refugee and immigration legal centre says about 30 of the 82 Sri Lankan asylum seekers held on Nauru are still waiting for legal assistance.

The asylum seekers were intercepted by the Australian navy in international waters in February and were sent to Nauru for processing.

Nauru's government has told Australia that they should leave the island within six months after previous asylum seekers spent years in the country's detention centres.

David Manne from the refugee and immigration legal centre says all asylum claims are still being processed.

"My understanding is that more than half of the Sri Lankans in Nauru have had interviews in relation to their claims for refugee status. They have been interviewed by the immigration department and that they were not able to access the legal system before that point but there some others that have decided to wait and defer interviews until they have actually been able to access that legal system."

David Manne says there are also seven Burmese asylum seekers on Nauru whose claims are also being processed.