6 January 2004

Protest by Nauru

I read with concern Senator Amanda Vanstone's comments (4/1) that 'asylum seekers on Nauru who refused to eat are not the responsibility of the Australian Government.'

Our Memorandum of Understanding obliges Australia to ensure the day-to-day management of asylum seeker facilities, including medical treatment.

Nauru has provided medical attention to the hunger strikers for humanitarian reasons. Australia has not discussed the hunger strike with us, let alone formally seek our assistance.

We have called on Australia for the urgent provision of medical and nursing staff, supplies and equipment.

Not only are the lives of hunger strikers at stake, but also the medical needs of Nauruans, owing to the pressure on our health system.

The Australian Government must act now to recognise its MOU with Nauru as well as its humanitarian obligation by providing adequate care and treatment for the asylum seekers.

K. Clodumar MP, Minister for Finance, Republic of Nauru

The Pacific solution was always an absurdity. What is the advantage of processing refugees outside Australia at greater cost and in worse conditions than processing them within our borders? We should not be surprised we are breaching our own MOU. We are, after all, already breaching the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

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