10 Oct 2002

Australia says 69 asylum seekers haven't accepted voluntary repatriation

11:27 am on 10 October 2002

Australia says 67 asylum seekers on Nauru have not accepted a repatriation package to voluntarily return home.

A spokesperson for the Immigration department, Tanya Cutting, says 410 people on Nauru have taken up the government offer of assisted repatriation and will leave when their travel documents and passports are in place.

398 Afghanis, six Iranians, three Sri Lankans and three Iraqis make up that group.

Ms Cutting says the International Office of Migration is co-ordinating their return home.

She says the 67 people on Nauru who haven't accepted the voluntary repatriation will also be sent back to their respective countries.

At the Manus detention centre in Papua New Guinea, there are seven out of the 102 asylum seekers who had their applications for refugee status denied.

Three out of the seven are reported to have accepted voluntary repatriation while the remaining four are yet to make a decision.

Ms Cutting says it's not possible to give a date by when the asylum seekers will be flown home.

Meanwhile, the prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, has reiterated that PNG will not take any more asylum seekers for processing.