26 Nov 2007

Refugee group expects new Australian government to shortly close down Nauru detention centre

3:16 pm on 26 November 2007

The Australian Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre hopes the newly elected Labor government will put an end to the Pacific Solution policy.

The policy was introduced six years ago to stop unauthorised boat arrivals in Australia.

The new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, has promised during his election campaign that his government would shut down Australia's offshore immigration detention centre on Nauru at a very early stage, but refused to give an exact time frame.

The Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre coordinator, David Manne, hopes the new Labor government will stick to its election promise.

"The hope here is that fairness, justice and humanity prevail and that this new Labor government not only follows through quickly with disbanding the so-called Pacific Solution policy and that it ensures that all of those who are genuine refugees enmeshed in this policy will be resettled in safety and security."

David Manne says there are seven Burmese and 82 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in detention on Nauru.

Most of the Sri Lankans have been given refugee status but so far no country has stepped forward to offer them asylum.