29 Oct 2008

Call on Australia to reconsider cases of Afghans sent back from Nauru

9:34 pm on 29 October 2008

An Australian research group, the Edmund Rice Centre, says the Australian government should reconsider the cases of asylum-seekers who were rejected when Canberra ran a detention centre in Nauru.

The group says up to 20 Afghan asylum seekers who were rejected are feared to have been killed although Australian immigration officials had told them their home country was safe.

Australia closed its detention centre in Nauru this year - seven years after launching its policy of screening asylum-seekers offshore which Australia called the Pacific solution.

The director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Phil Glendenning, says 400 asylum-seekers went back and some are now moving from village to village in fear of their lives, or are hiding in Pakistan.

He says Australia still has a responsibility towards them.

"The sadness of course is that the Pacific solution, while it has been ended formally by the new Rudd in this country government it hasn't ended for the victims of the Pacific solution. And we are calling upon the Australian government as a matter of urgency to re-open the cases of those who were sent back to Afghanistan."

The Edmund Rice Centre's director, Phil Glendenning.