18 Nov 2004

27 Iraqis on Nauru await ruling on refugee status application

4:16 pm on 18 November 2004

27 Iraqis including seven children held on Nauru should find out within a month if they are to be granted refugee status.

The Australian government is reassessing their cases in the light of the ongoing unrest in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Australian High Court has reserved its decision over an appeal brought by the Director of Police in Nauru.

He is trying to prevent the asylum seekers from challenging a decision by the Supreme Court in Nauru which ruled that the detention of the asylum seekers does not breach the Nauruan constitution.

Australian Barrister, Sam Hay who represents the asylum seekers says conditions don't appear to have improved over the past year.

"When we issued there was a hunger strike and difficulties with sanitation and water. From what I'm told that remains. The country generally though suffers from those conditions. It's a very poor country and environmentally unforgiving and they don't have enough money to live at a standard that the first world would consider acceptable."

There are around 80 refugees currently being held on Nauru.