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NZ takes care of Australia's refugee responsibilities - again.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/309 THURSDAY 22 APRIL 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS AND SPOKESPERSON ON IMMIGRATION NZ Takes Care of Australia's Refugee Responsibilities - Again It has been left to New Zealand to step in and take care of the Howard Government responsibilities by recently granting visas to 7 Iraqi families detained on Nauru, the Australian Democrats Leader Andrew Bartlett said today. Two Iraqi men are leaving Australia today to be reunited with their families in New Zealand. Their wives and children had been detained on Nauru for over two years and were refused refugee status by Australia, against UNHCR's recommendations. The Australian Democrats call on the government to follow international refugee determination guidelines that allow refugee families to live together. "If John Howard is a strong believer in the sanctity of families, especially in the role of fathers, then he should allow these refugee fathers the right to live with their children," Senator Bartlett said. The Australian Democrats also call on the government to grant immediate complementary protection to the Iraqi people detained on Nauru. It is quite clear that they cannot be returned in the immediate future. "We want to see international protocol being followed whereby we grant, at minimum, temporary safe haven to the Iraqi people refused refugee status but who cannot be returned because the situation at home is so dangerous." The two Iraqi men are leaving for Auckland from Sydney airport today and have said they would welcome the opportunity to tell their story to the media. They will be available for comment in the Qantas departures terminal from 1.30pm. Media Contact - Daele Healy - 0419 867 649 or Rowena Bew - 0400 729 555