20 Apr 2005

Journalist not confident Australia will re-assess the cases of remaining Nauru asylum seekers

7:05 am on 20 April 2005

There are renewed calls for the cases of remaining asylum seekers being held on Nauru to be looked at again.

The regional representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Neil Wright, has asked Canberra to find a humanitarian solution to deal with asylum seekers still on Nauru.

A journalist for The Age newspaper, Michael Gordon, was among the first journalists to officially to visit the 54 detainees who have been on Nauru for more than three years, under the Howard government's so-called "Pacific solution.

Mr Gordon says recent evidence has emerged that many of those remaining in the Nauru camp have genuine claims to be accepted as refugees and they should go through the process again.

But he doubts Canberra is willing to let that happen.

"This government has seen pretty well every aspect of its border protection policy through the prism of what message it sends the people smugglers so that they would see any dismantling of the Pacific Solution as sending the wrong signal. But I think that has to be weighed against a couple of factors. One is that it's more than three years since there's been any traffic of boats and two, these people are utterly convinced that they can't go back and I think Neil Wright accepted that. So there's nowhere else to go and in the meantime they're in a dreadful state."