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Report from the Delegation to Nauru.

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Report from the Delegation to Nauru

VPS 017/2003

A preliminary briefing given to me today by former Immigration Minister, the Hon John Hodges and community Afghan leader Gholam Aboss has confirmed that the protesters on Nauru are receiving a high level of care.

Both Mr Hodges and Mr Aboss have spoken with the hunger strikers and urged them to cease the hunger strike. They visited the Nauru Hospital and spoke with the Medical Director at some length and also visited all hospitalised hunger strikers who are receiving good care. They appear to be in remarkably good condition.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is doing an excellent job and is looking after the people on Nauru with the compassion for which it is internationally renowned.

Mr Hodges has confirmed that the residents of the centre are well fed and have no shortage of drinking water. The residents live in air conditioned accommodation and have excellent medical care. Mr Hodges commented favourably on the improvements to the centre since his last visit, and that contrary to media reports, the centre was surrounded by a simple cyclone fence. There is no razor wire.

The protesters indicated that they were committed to this course of action. I again urge those residents in the camp to stop their hunger strike and think about returning to their home country. The Government will not be pressured into granting visas to people who have had a fair hearing and have been found not to be refugees.

Mr Hodges and Mr Aboss will be making a detailed report to me in early January.

23 December 2003