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Asylum Decisions Handed Down

Hon Philip Ruddock, MP

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Australian Government

Asylum Decisions Handed Down on Manus and Christmas Island

23 May 2002

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today that a further 189 asylum seekers on Manus Island had received decisions on their asylum claims this week.

The decisions included 122 approvals and 67 refusals.

The Minister said 115 Iraqis had received positive decisions while 56 had received negative decisions with the remaining decisions covering people from Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan, Turkey, and Bangladesh

"This brings to 305 the number of decisions made on Manus Island, covering 90 per cent of the people there.

"Processing of the remaining cases is well advanced and decisions will be handed down as soon as they are available," Mr Ruddock said.

The Minister also said that 27 Sri Lankans currently on Christmas Island had received decisions, all negative, on their asylum claims on 16 May 2002. These were part of a group of 71 who arrived without authority at Cocos (Keeling) Island on 19 September 2001 and were transferred to Christmas Island in February this year.

The other members of the group did not advance refugee protection claims and the bulk of these people have returned to Sri Lanka.

Processing on Manus Island and Christmas Island has been carried out by the Australian Government.

Asylum seekers on Manus Island and Christmas Island have been provided with detailed information sessions covering the decision process, the implications of the decisions and procedures for resettlement or review of decisions.

"It is important to note that being a refugee does not give a person a right to select their preferred country of protection," the Minister said.

"The people who we find to be refugees may not necessarily be resettled in Australia.

"While settlement opportunities are being sought the refugees will continue to be provided with support, including accommodation, food, clothing and medical care.

"Those who are not refugees are expected to leave the country as soon as circumstances permit. The asylum seekers on Manus Island, Christmas Island and Nauru may opt at any time to return home voluntarily, as may detainees in Australia."


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