Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pacific Solution update : Refugee claims by Burmese men on hold

Asia Pacific reports, "Five weeks after arriving on Nauru, seven Burmese asylum seekers are yet to be told by Australian authorities how their refugee claims will be assessed. In an unusual move, the group's lawyer has decided his clients should apply for protection in the same way asylum seekers and refugees, worldwide, apply for resettlement in Australia.

Earlier this month, refugee lawyer David Manne went to Nauru to meet the Burmese nationals sent there as part of Australia's so-called "Pacific Solution". Nauru, which is now keen for Australia to settle refugee claims within months, not years as occurred with the Tampa boatpeople, facilitated Mr Manne's visit so he could provide first-hand legal advice to the seven Burmese asylum seekers. The eighth remains in hospital in Perth.

Mr Manne says the men fled Burma several years ago after suffering what he says was "horrific abuse". Ending up in Malaysia, being deported to neighbouring Thailand, they kept returning to Malaysia before fleeing to Australia.

Click here to hear the full interview with David Manne.

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