Wednesday December 2 2004 11:07am WST
For Immediate Release
"Amanda Vanstone should stop telling Orwellian truths about Iraqis", Project SafeCom spokesman Jack H Smit said today, in response to a statement made by the Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone about the Iraqis on Nauru.
The Minister was reported by Australian Associated Press as having said, "that those people who have again been confirmed as non-refugees should now accept the outcome and return to their home country as quickly as possible.
"While we applaud the fact that finally, almost two years into what Project SafeCom regards as an illegal invasion of Iraq, also by Australian forces, the Minister has the heart to accept many Iraqis as refugees, the truth is that the government only reluctantly accepts the UNHCR assessment criteria.
"If the government were honest and open about the situation, all remaining Iraqis would long ago have been granted humanitarian visas under a secondary determination program.
"Australia remains one of the very, very few Convention signatories that refuses point blank to consider a human arrangement for asylum seekers. While we bomb the living daylights out of Iraq, it remains a scandal that the Minister has the audacity to express this kind of tripe about Iraqis."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
[phone number posted]
Nauru detainees get refugee status
December 2, 2004
A TOTAL of 27 Iraqi asylum seekers being detained on the Pacific island of Nauru were granted refugee status today, with most to be offered residency in Australia.
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said 16 of the 27 refugees would be offered resettlement in Australia while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees would look to resettle the remaining 11.
The Immigration Department reassessed the cases of 41 Iraqis being held on Nauru.
Senator Vanstone said 14 people were found not to be refugees, decisions on a another two were under consideration and four did not want their cases reassessed by Australia.
She said the 27 found to be refugees would continue to receive accommodation, food, clothing and medical care while arrangements were made to resettle them.
But Senator Vanstone said those who were not refugees should go home.
"Those people who have again been confirmed as non-refugees should now accept the outcome and return to their home country as quickly as possible," Senator Vanstone said.
"Australia has made it clear all along that it will take its fair share of refugees needing resettlement from the offshore processing centres.
"The Iraqis in Australia's caseload now being approved as refugees will be offered resettlement in Australia.
"The outcome of the reassessment reflects the government's commitment to assess the effect of changing circumstances on the protection claims of individuals."