October 19, 2012
Nauru’s Foreign Minister says asylum seekers could be held on Nauru for five years or more while their claims are being processed.
Kieren Keke insists those being kept on the island are being well looked after and will have appropriate access to appeal rights and lawyers.
He also says that even though tents make up the current accommodation at the facility, his country will soon be ready to receive women and children to the asylum seeker processing centre.
“As I understand it I think we should have some of the permanent facilities up within I guess you could say weeks,” he said.
“I guess maybe the next month or two.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Government is refusing to put an exact time limit on the length of stay of asylum seekers at the detention facilities.
The Australian Opposition’s Immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, has accused the government of failing to be transparent on its asylum seeker processing policy.
The Australian Government says asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat will be subject to a “no advantage” principle, meaning they will have to wait as long as they would if they were waiting in a regional processing centre.
Mr Morrison says the government should be clear the no advantage test means asylum seekers face waiting up to five years, or longer, to have their applications processed.
“The standard waiting time on most of my visits around the region whether its in Indonesia or Malaysia is around about five years in Malaysia,” Mr Morrison said.
“Now the government needs to stop tying itself in knots about its language about these things, if they’re serious about no advantage then they should say what it means.”