4 Mar 2003

Australia transfers nearly 40 asylum seekers from Manus to Nauru

2:53 pm on 4 March 2003

Australia says only seven asylum seekers remain at their detention centre on Manus in Papua New Guinea and four of those are still being processed.

This follows the transfer of 38 people from Manus to Nauru after their refugee applications were turned down.

In response to questions, Australia's Immigration department says one person is refusing to be voluntarily repatriated and remains in place.

The department also says that of the 339 people who were sent to Manus after attempting to reach Australia by boat, 292 were found to be refugees and Australia has accepted 126 of those.

Voluntary repatriation is scheduled to occur when travel documents become available.

80 percent of the asylum seekers were Iraqis.