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UNHCR review of Afghan asylum seekers.

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UNHCR Review of Afghan Asylum Seekers

VPS 018/2003

I am aware that the UNHCR Regional office in Canberra has announced today that it intends to review the cases of many of the 22 Afghan asylum seekers in Nauru it previously found not to be refugees

Their decision to review these cases is based on recent changes to the situation in some regions of Afghanistan

UNHCR has stressed that their decision is not related to the actions of those people on Nauru participating in the hunger strike

Australia always takes seriously information provided by UNHCR which might have a bearing on whether particular individuals are in need of protection

I understand that a consolidated assessment is likely to be available from UNHCR in the near future which will give more information on the areas of concern

As soon as consolidated information is received from UNHCR on those areas of Afghanistan where it believes the situation has changed, the Government will examine the implications for those cases on Nauru previously assessed by DIMIA

In the meantime, I call upon the hunger strikers to resume taking food as continuing their protest will not affect consideration of their future status

24 December 2003