5 Mar 2013

Asylum seeker tension will be minimised with start to processing says Nauru minister

4:09 pm on 5 March 2013

The Nauru government says the start to processing asylum seekers' claims this month will minimise problems in the camp, like lip-sewing.

About 400 asylum seekers have been transferred to Nauru from Australia under Canberra's six month old offshore processing policy.

Many have gone on hunger strike and at least nine are reported to have stitched up their lips in protest at the time it has taken to start processing their claims.

Nauru's Minister responsible for the Regional Processing Centre, Dominic Tabuna, says a team of 16 staff from Australia and Nauru will begin processing in about two weeks.

"Key I guess for the transferees not to go and do these things is for us to start the processing so that they have an outcome. We don't condone or are happy with people sewing their lips and that but there are people there helping them to maintain their health."

Dominic Tabuna says the Nauru government has worked closely with the UNHCR to develop a credible claims procedure.