26 May 2005

Lawyer says solution in sight for Australia's detainees on Nauru

1:36 pm on 26 May 2005

An Australian legal advocate for 54 long-term detainees on Nauru says there may finally be a solution for them.

Fears are growing for the mental health of the asylum seekers in detention on Nauru under Australia's policy to process boatpeople offshore.

The group includes 29 Afghans, 20 Iraqis, two Iranians and among them are four young children and two teenagers.

They have had few if any options, but Canberra lawyer Marion Le says she hopes that's about to change.

"We've been encouraged in the last few days with communication from the Department of Immigration at one of the highest levels, telling us that the work that my office has been doing over the last few months has actually paid off. We've put submissions, looked at the case load in depth, done individual analysis of what has gone on in the processing to this point, and the department has assured us now that they're taking those submissions seriously."

Marion Le says mistakes have been made in documentation of the refugees.

She says they've suffered enough and should be given permanent residence in Australia or another country, such as New Zealand.