28 Feb 2013

Refugee activist says Nauru govt disarray heightens camp concerns

5:03 am on 28 February 2013

A refugee activist says Canberra should move asylum seekers off Nauru because of government disarray there.

The more than 360 asylum seekers at Australia's detention centre on the island are waiting to be processed by Nauru authorities under a deal with Canberra.

There have been fears of a constitutional crisis after the departure of three Nauru government ministers in the last few weeks.

Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition says it's particularly concerning that Foreign Minister Kieren Keke has resigned as he negotiated the deal with Canberra.

He says processing was meant to start early this year but it is not looking likely.

"If they can't be processed on Nauru, if they're not about to be processed on Nauru, if there's no regime on Nauru to put the processing in place, then the Australian government should bring them back to Australia. where there is such a determination process."

Ian Rintoul says up to nine asylum seekers remain with their lips stitched and more than 15 Iranian asylum seekers are on hunger strike in protest at the lack of processing.