10 Nov 2004

Nauru asylum seekers enjoying a better lifestyle than locals - Nauru Health Minister

4:06 pm on 10 November 2004

Nauru's Health Minister claims asylum seekers on the island have a better lifestyle than most Nauruans.

Dr Kieren Keke says the 80 or so detainees at the Australian-run detention centre, who have been declined refugee status, are living well.

Dr Keke says they go to local schools, churches, shops, swimming pools and live in good conditions.

His comments follow reports that the detainees are pleading with the New Zealand and Australian governments to accept them.

"They're actually living much better than Nauruans are living. They've got computer rooms, playstation facilities, video games, a gym, 24 hour power which the rest of the island doesn't have, they've got no problems with water, the food is much better than what Nauruans are eating, the gates are open, they go to school, churches, they join in community events."

Dr Kieren Keke

Some refugee activists in Australia have claimed the detainees are living in squalid conditions and suffering mental health problems.