18 Feb 2013

No escape says Nauru police chief, just a wander, as asylum seekers climb the fence

4:13 pm on 18 February 2013

Nauru police say it is unlikely any of the five Iranian asylum seekers who climbed a fence to get out of the detention camp early this morning will be charged with an offence.

Police chief Richard Britten says it was not an escape, rather that the asylum seekers had wandered off into the phosphate pinnacles area adjacent to the camp.

He says they were concerned for the group's safety.

All five have been returned to the camp.

But the Refugee Action Coalition's Nick Riemer says it was an escape and is a sign of the desperate situation the asylum seekers find themselves in.

"People want to get out of it as fast as they can, particularly since the government in Australia has said that these people are going to be processed according to the no-advantage principle, which means that they are facing essentially an indefinite period detained in Nauru. No prospect for either the beginning of their refugee processing, let alone any prospect of actual release."