19 Feb 2007

Australian opposition says Burmese in Nauru camp should be processed

5:18 pm on 19 February 2007

An Australian opposition Greens senator, Kerry Nettle, says the Australian government must stop playing brinksmanship with the Burmese asylum seekers on Nauru and process their claims in good faith.

Senator Nettle says while the Burmese were taken to the detention camp on Nauru over six months ago it appears that there has been no progress in assessing their claims for asylum.

She says if the group had been in Australia their claims would have been processed within 90 days.

The senator says it seems notions of justice, fairness and due process are being ignored.

She says this is not the behaviour of a country that is a signatory to, and which supposedly respects, the Refugee Convention.

The senator says it seems the process on Nauru mounts to wearing people down over time to the point where they either do what the government wants or slowly lose their minds and any hope.

An Australian immigration department official would not say whether they have started processing the applications for asylum.

He says the department does not reveal such details.