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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Nauru Eyes Faster Inclusion Of Refugees Into Society
Australia says asylum applications could take 5 years to process

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 14, 2012) – The Nauru government says the nearly 400 asylum seekers in Australia’s camp will not have to wait until they’re declared refugees before they can take part in activities around the island.

Australian immigration officials have said this could only happen once their applications for refugee status had been processed and approved - an exercise, they say, could take five years.

But Nauru’s President, Sprent Dabwido, says his government wants a more flexible arrangement and once medical and security clearances have been done they would welcome the asylum seekers into the community.

"If there’s school children, here we won’t be waiting for five years for them to be joining the community, and if there’s people who actually haven’t had their refugee status determined but they have had their medical and security checks and everything - I don’t think we will be waiting for five years for that."

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