10 Oct 2015

Nauru Govt to open detention centre

8:40 am on 10 October 2015

An Australia-based refugee advocate says asylum seekers on Nauru have welcomed the government's announcement to open the detention centre there with both joy and trepidation.

The government last week announced that it would finalise most of the remaining 600 refugee claims this week, as well as opening the centre to allow asylum seekers free movement around the island.

The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul says the asylum seekers he's spoken to on Nauru are happy with the announcement.

However, he says the fact authorities are now able to process most asylum seekers in a week, when most have been waiting for more than two years for their determinations is inexcusable.

"There is no explanation for that. They have been sitting on these interviews for almost two years. So it's just been a lack of political will and it's also clear that this decision is a very hasty one."

Ian Rintoul says Australia's progress in finding places to resettle those found to be refugees is slow, meaning many refugees will remain in limbo on Nauru.

Nauru is trying to overturn a decision that froze the country's bank accounts.

Nauru Photo: AFP