24 Oct 2007

Australian lawyer urges help to Burmese by accepting refugees held in Nauru

5:06 pm on 24 October 2007

A refugee advocate, David Manne, says if Australia wants to help Burmese suffering under the military-led regime, they should start with those held in Nauru's detention centre.

Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said his country should provide refuge to people running away from violence in Burma.

There are seven Burmese asylum seekers held in the Australian-run detention centre on Nauru for over a year and Mr Manne says his country should no longer wait and accept them.

"What we are saying is this that a decision should be made urgently on these applications that were made over a year ago in accordance with Australian policy, which the foreign minister stated yesterday, that these men should be brought to Australia as people who have strong and compelling claims for refugee protection."

David Manne says they fled from exactly the same violence seen in Burma today.