Nauru Announces It Will Process All Remaining Asylum Seekers “Within A Week”

In something of a shock announcement, the Nauru government has announced it will be processing the claims of all 600 remaining asylum seekers currently being held at the island nation’s detention centre within the next week.

The centre, opened by the Australian Government as an offshore processing facility for incoming refugees (one that formed the backbone of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott‘s highly criticised “stop the boats” policy) will also function as a 24-hour “open” centre from today, meaning refugees placed in the facility will have complete freedom of movement throughout the entirety of the island.
The Australian Government is confirmed to be providing extra support for the island nation and the detention centre residents, with increased health care, overseas medical referrals, as well as increased “safety and security” personnel.
The camp has been transitioning to an open facility since last November, with refugees allowed to move freely outside the facility during set hours. The total opening of the centre removes any remaining movement restrictions for the people who sleep, eat, and live at the facility.
However, asylum seekers have not universally taken to the freedoms – claims of them being attacked by Nauru locals has reportedly left some asylum seekers too afraid to leave the detention centre.
The Nauru Government also failed to specify exactly how it plans to process the 600-odd claims for refugee status within such a short amount of time – particularly given the average length of time an asylum seeker has been spending in detention without a processed claim was previously hovering around the 400-day mark.
Nauru Justice Minister David Adeang stated that his Government had been constructing a “more compassionate program” for asylum seeker processing for some time, and that an open system was a sign of great things to come for the tiny nation of just 10,000 people.

“The start of detention-free processing is a landmark day for Nauru.”

The announcement comes on the back of a swathe of reports of beatings and sexual assaults levelled on asylum seekers by Nauruan locals – including a 17 year old boy beaten and robbed, and a 26 year-old woman who was raped by a pair of local men.

It’s been revealed that the Coalition Government has, on numerous occasions, asked the Australian Federal Police to find the identity of the individual(s) responsible for the information leaks – rather than, y’know, going after the people actually responsible for the crimes.
Prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside has been voicing his displeasure with the Turnbull Government on Twitter.

Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

via ABC News.