The ‘Pacific Solution’ revisited: a statistical guide to the asylum seeker caseloads on Nauru and Manus Island

4 September 2012

PDF version [399KB]

Janet Phillips
Social Policy Section

Contents
Introduction
What was the ‘Pacific Solution’?
What were the offshore processing arrangements?
What were the contentious issues?
What are the concerns now?
Conclusion
Appendix A: Nauru and Manus caseloads by SIEV, processing centre, nationality, age group and gender as at 15 April 2002
Appendix B: Nauru and Manus caseloads by year of arrival, population movement, nationality and outcome 2001 to 2008
Appendix C: Tampa caseload by nationality, outcome and resettlement country
Appendix D: Nauru and Manus caseloads by outcome and resettlement country

 

Image source: Statistics and Mapping Section, Parliamentary Library, 2003.

Introduction

On 13 August 2012, the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers released its report containing a suite of measures and recommendations to the Government on how best to deal with asylum seeker issues in the short, medium and long term.[1] One of the short-term measures recommended was a proposal to re-establish offshore processing facilities in Nauru and Papua New Guinea in order to provide a ‘circuit breaker to the current surge in irregular migration to Australia’. The practice of transferring asylum seekers intercepted at sea to third countries in the Pacific for processing was first introduced by the Howard Government in 2001—this policy became known as the ‘Pacific Solution’.[2]

The Gillard Government endorsed, in principle, all of the recommendations of the Expert Panel.[3] In response to the recommendation to reintroduce offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, the Government resumed debate on the Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011 (originally introduced in the House of Representatives on 21 September 2011).[4] The amended Bill, the Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2012 was subsequently passed by the House of Representatives on 15 August 2012 and the Senate on 16 August 2012.[5] As a result, the Government is now in a position to re-establish offshore processing facilities in the Pacific if the governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea agree.

This background note provides a brief overview of the ‘Pacific Solution’ and also outlines some of the concerns expressed by many on the practice of accommodating asylum seekers in offshore processing facilities in the Pacific.

However, the primary focus of this paper is to provide a guide to the statistics on the asylum seeker caseloads on Nauru and Manus Island between 2001 and 2008. The data in this paper has been drawn from a range of sources, including committee reports, ministerial press releases and advice provided to the Parliamentary Library by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

What was the ‘Pacific Solution’?

In response to a rising number of boat arrivals in 2001, the Howard Government introduced what came to be known as the ‘Pacific Solution’ whereby asylum seekers on board unauthorised—or irregular maritime arrival (IMA)—vessels were intercepted (usually by the Australian navy) and transferred to offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.[6]

These arrangements were the outcome of a ‘suite of negotiations in which Australia also approached, with varying degrees of formality, East Timor, Kiribati, Fiji, Palau, Tuvalu, Tonga and France (in relation to French Polynesia)’.[7] In September and October 2001 the Australian Government completed its negotiations and signed administrative agreements with the governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea:

Australia signed an Administrative Agreement with Nauru on 10 September 2001 for Nauru to accommodate asylum seekers for processing. This was replaced by a MOU which was signed on 11 December 2001 ... A MOU was signed with PNG on 11 October 2001. This agreement established a processing centre to accommodate and assess the claims of asylum seekers on Manus Island.[8]

The majority of the people accommodated on Nauru and Manus Island arrived in late 2001 and early 2002 (only 3 people arrived in early 2003 and another 90 in 2006–07)).[9] Between 2001 and September 2003 during the height of the ‘Pacific Solution’, a total of 1544 asylum seekers (mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq) were accommodated, with a peak population of 1515 in February 2002.[10]  By September 2003 there were only 335 asylum seekers remaining on Nauru (although there were later transfers of asylum seekers from Christmas Island again in 2006 and 2007) and none remaining on Manus Island.[11]

In April 2002 the population in the processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island was 1511 (just under the peak population of 1515 two months earlier). It included 125 women, 213 children and 30 unaccompanied minors on Nauru, and 65 women and 125 children on Manus Island.[12] There were nineteen babies born on Nauru between 2001 and 2004 and three babies born on Manus Island between 2001 and 2003.[13]

The Nauru caseload also included the majority of the 433 asylum seekers rescued during the Tampa incident.[14]  One hundred and fifty of the Tampa asylum seekers were sent to New Zealand for processing, but the remainder were sent to Nauru where the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agreed to conduct refugee status determinations for them.[15]

When the Rudd Government dismantled the ‘Pacific Solution’ in February 2008, a ministerial press release noted that a total of 1637 people had been detained in the Nauru and Manus facilities between 2001 and 2008, including 786 Afghans, 684 Iraqis and 88 Sri Lankans.[16] Seventy per cent were resettled to Australia or other countries. Of those, around 61 per cent (705 people) were resettled in Australia.[17]

More comprehensive detail on the Nauru and Manus Island caseloads is provided in the statistical appendices included in this paper.

What were the offshore processing arrangements?

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) outlined the offshore processing arrangements in detail in a 2005 fact sheet:

Pacific Strategy

Offshore processing facilities were established in two declared countries—Nauru and Papua New Guinea. These facilities were set up with the cooperation of the Governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Asylum seekers are not detained under Australian law, or the laws of Nauru or Papua New Guinea, but are instead granted Special Purpose Visas by those countries to facilitate their stay while they await processing and resettlement or return.

The processing facility in Nauru was established on 19 September 2001, with the arrival of people from MV Tampa and a group of unauthorised arrivals who were found at Ashmore Island. The processing centre in PNG at the Lombrum Naval Base in Manus Province was established on 21 October 2001. The offshore processing of asylum seekers at the centres in PNG and Nauru has become known as the ‘Pacific Strategy’.

The processing of those people includes establishing identity, checking their health status and importantly, dealing with any claims for refugee protection. Assessing these claims in Nauru or Manus Province fully satisfies Australia’s obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (UN Refugee Convention) and its 1967 Protocol…

Managing the offshore facilities

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) manages and operates the offshore processing facilities in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. IOM are internationally renowned for the high level of care that they deliver to centre residents. IOM provides high quality and responsive services in its management of the processing centres, giving priority to the social well-being of the centres’ residents. IOM continually reviews its community health programs as the residents’ circumstances change with population movements, ensuring programs address changing needs. These holistic programs include a wide range of sporting and leisure activities (including satellite television, videos and reading materials) and education programs (which include language classes and computer skills).

In addition: there are regular excursions for shopping and swimming; school-aged children regularly attend local schools; residents have regular access to Internet and personal e-mail in the town centre; and IOM conducts occupational activities for residents, including catering, gardening, nursery management, woodworking, electrical equipment maintenance and repairs and poultry farming.

Since 1 March 2005, the centres in Nauru have been maintained on an ‘open centre’ basis which allows resident’s freedom of movement between 8am and 7pm from Monday through to Saturday, with some exclusion zones such as the airport.

Facilities provided

Nauru

The processing facility in Nauru comprises two separate sites known as Topside and State House. The site at Topside currently has no residents and is being maintained on a contingency basis. Air-conditioned accommodation is provided for all centre residents. There are separate ablution facilities for men and women, prayer rooms, recreation and sporting facilities ... The Government of Nauru has agreed that up to 1500 people may be accommodated in the processing facilities at any one time, under arrangements which expire on 30 June 2005.

Papua New Guinea

Accommodation at the processing facility in Manus Province consists of air-conditioned demountable buildings, separate ablution blocks for men and women, sporting, educational and recreational facilities. As at 12 May 2005, there were no residents at the Manus facility.

Offshore Processing

In Nauru, some protection claims were assessed by representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), while others were assessed by the Australian Government. In PNG claims were assessed by the Australian Government … Asylum seekers whose initial claims for protection were rejected had their decisions reviewed.[18]

What were the contentious issues?

The main issues of concern expressed by many stakeholders regarding the ‘Pacific Solution’ revolved around the conditions of the offshore processing centres; the lack of independent scrutiny; the mental health impacts on those held in the centres; and the lengthy periods of time that many asylum seekers spent on Nauru and Manus Island while their claims were being processed.

The conditions on Nauru and Manus Island attracted a great deal of criticism at the time from refugee advocates and other stakeholders, including many parliamentarians.[19] The report of the inquiry into A Certain Maritime Incident outlined many of these concerns and noted that the Nauru site initially lacked water, sanitation and electricity with asylum seekers housed under harsh conditions. Evidence to the Select Committee suggested that the facilities on Manus were a slight improvement on those in Nauru; however, several asylum seekers contracted malaria.[20]

Several witnesses to the Committee also expressed concern about the lack of independent scrutiny, difficulty in obtaining access to the facilities and an apparent lack of access to legal advice for detainees. Australian Lawyers for Human Rights told the Committee that when they sought to send a team of lawyers to Nauru to provide legal advice to asylum seekers the Nauruan Government refused them visas.[21] In 2002, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC—formerly HREOC) also requested permission to inspect the facilities on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea as part of its National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, but the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) ‘reiterated its position that the HREOC Act did not have extra-territorial effect and declined to assist the Inquiry with these visits’.[22]

The Certain Maritime Incident report also included comments by the UNHCR expressing concern that people who had been found to be refugees on Nauru and Manus were left for prolonged periods while durable solutions were sought.[23] By May 2005, 1547 asylum seekers had been accommodated in the processing centres in Nauru and Manus Island since 2001. Of these, 3.5 per cent (54) remained on Nauru waiting for a resolution of their cases.[24] Since the bulk of the arrivals occurred in either late 2001 or early 2002, the majority of those remaining in May 2005 would have been there for over three years.[25]

The last two asylum seekers from the original ‘Pacific Solution’ caseload left Nauru in August 2006 and February 2007—over five years after the first arrivals during the ‘Pacific Solution’.[26] The last of these to leave, an Iraqi, had arrived in October 2001 having been intercepted on a boat during the ‘children overboard’ incident according to media reports—he was resettled in Sweden over five years later in February 2007.[27] When the Rudd Government dismantled the ‘Pacific Solution’ in February 2008, the final members of a group of later arrivals (82 Sri Lankans transferred from Christmas Island to Nauru in March 2007) were resettled in Australia.

The mental health impacts of prolonged detention on adults and children were also of great concern to many.[28] In 2007, a report published by A Just Australia and Oxfam Australia outlined numerous concerns relating to the ‘Pacific Solution’, including the mental health impacts on asylum seekers leading to serious psychological damage and instances of  people engaging in hunger strikes and self-harm. The report also argued that the Pacific Solution was a costly and highly inefficient exercise estimating the total cost at $1 billion or more.[29]

Those visitors who were allowed access to the offshore processing centres in Nauru echoed some of these concerns. One journalist, given permission to visit Nauru in 2005 when 54 asylum seekers remained, noted it was particularly difficult for the women and children:

…one of the children, nine-year-old Abbas Ali, was ill for ten days after their last rejection. “When his father took him to the doctor, he said, ‘Your son is very lonely. There is no treatment.’” The older daughter, Ilham, aged fourteen, was the only teenage girl in a camp overwhelmingly comprised of young men. She had to go everywhere with her parents and said she was very depressed and lonely. “It’s very hard for me. I cannot go outside. I cannot go to the dining room. I cannot go shopping or swimming. I [only] go with my family”...

[Another woman stated] “I come in 2001. Now 2005,” she said. “I very, very tired. No can sleep, no can think, no can eat. Three years and six months in here. Why? Our suffering here is too much.” She said she spent her days in their small room and relied on sleeping tablets at night.[30]

Other visitors noted:

One independent visitor to the Nauru camps has noted that the trauma and conditions facing the asylum seekers has many serious and adverse effects: The asylum seekers are traumatised by the events and many show clear signs of vulnerability. It is often difficult to interview them. It could be discussed whether it is appropriate to perform RSD [refugee screening determination] in such situations, when the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are evident and seriously affect the eligibility process…

‘I am reliably informed that in the interviews, the following symptoms for PTSD were observed: nervousness, anxiety, aggressive attitude, muteness, distrust, withdrawal, lack of focus and concentration, often shivering of hands during interviews, outburst of crying.’[31]

While similar adverse mental health effects on asylum seekers had been noted in Australia’s onshore immigration facilities, the more challenging physical conditions of the offshore processing centres; the lack of independent scrutiny; and the lengthy periods of time that many asylum seekers spent on Nauru and Manus Island while their claims were being processed were of particular concern to many critics of the ‘Pacific Solution’.[32]

What are the concerns now?

The proposed reintroduction of offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea has again raised some concerns, particularly given the principle of ‘no advantage’ identified by the Expert Panel as the ‘the single most important priority’ in preventing irregular migration to Australia by shifting the ‘balance of incentive’ in favour of the use of regular pathways of migration.[33] Under this principle asylum seekers may face lengthy periods in Nauru while their cases are assessed in order that they are not ‘advantaged’ over others who have not resorted to using people smugglers.

As a result, many refugee advocates again have concerns over the potentially lengthy periods of time that many asylum seekers may spend on Nauru and Manus Island while their claims are processed. These include renewed concerns over the conditions of the proposed offshore processing centres; the possible lack of independent scrutiny; and the mental health impacts on those held in the proposed centres.[34]

The UNHCR has noted that it does ‘not want to see a return to lengthy delays in remote island centres ‘and that it is ‘concerned about the psychological impact for those individuals who would be affected’:

UNHCR is studying arrangements proposed in Australia this week by a panel of experts, and subsequent legislation passed by its Parliament, under which asylum-seekers would be processed in offshore camps. As things stand, the proposals raise many complex legal, protection, policy and operational issues. There is value in those parts of the proposals as they relate to regional capacity building, engagement and cooperation in South-East Asia, which UNHCR has long supported. However, the strong deterrent elements reflected in the re-establishment of offshore processing in the Pacific raise concerns and many questions…

We do not want to see a return to lengthy delays in remote island centres for asylum seekers and refugees before durable solutions are found. We are also concerned about the psychological impact for those individuals who would be affected.[35]

The Refugee Council of Australia has also expressed concerns on a return of an ‘extended period of exile’ for some asylum seekers:

“Sending asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island is wrong for all of the reasons the Government has outlined in the past,” Mr Power said. “Despite what the Government may tell us now, people found to be refugees as part of the new version of the Pacific Solution overwhelmingly will have to be resettled to Australia – but only after an extended period of exile”.[36]

Other experts in the field have expressed concerns that asylum seekers accommodated in the proposed offshore processing centres may again experience serious mental health issues.  AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, has called for ‘urgent establishment of a truly independent expert medical panel to oversee the quality of health services available to all immigration detainees in all locations—onshore and offshore’:

Detainees have a lack of access to health facilities. Indeterminate detention has a serious mental health impact. There are currently no specific guidelines for dealing with the health needs of children in detention. But there is plenty of research evidence of the harm that detention causes to a child’s development. We must do the right thing. We want this Panel to report directly to the Parliament, the Prime Minister, and Ministers. Part of its brief would be to monitor the health services available to the local communities outside the detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island. It has to be above the bureaucracy. The current advisory group – Immigration Health Advisory Group or IHAG – reports to the Immigration Department. It is limited.  Its members are constrained.[37]

Conclusion

With the rise of unauthorised boat arrivals in Australian waters since 2008, dealing with asylum seekers is once again a major political issue in Australia, as it was during the Howard Government.

The Gillard Government has announced plans to re-establish facilities in the Pacific once the details are negotiated and agreed to by the Governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. If these plans eventuate it would appear that the processing of asylum seekers offshore in third countries in the Pacific, not onshore in Australia,  is once again the preferred solution to the ‘problem’ of unauthorised boat arrivals.

The Government has acknowledged the Expert Panel’s recommendations for improved oversight, along with ‘some involvement of non-government organisations in the monitoring of the implementation in Nauru and the ability to bring people who are suffering particular vulnerabilities to Australia’.[38] However, it remains to be seen what the conditions will be like in practice in the proposed processing centres.

Whether this strategy is only pursued in the short-term as suggested by the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, or whether it becomes entrenched as long-term policy also remains to be seen. If that becomes a reality, asylum seekers may once again find themselves spending prolonged periods of time in offshore processing centres in the Pacific as they once did during the first incarnation of the ‘Pacific Solution’.

Appendix A: Nauru and Manus caseloads by SIEV, processing centre, nationality, age group and gender as at 15 April 2002

Nauru

 

 

 

Number

 

Gender and age group

 

Nationality

 

UNHCR asylum claims process

 

MV Tampa & SIEV 1

 

525

 

397 adult males

51 adult females

41 male minors

40 female minors

 

292 Afghans

203 Iraqis

25 Palestinians

1 Sri Lankan

 

Australian asylum claims process – Topside processing centre

 

SIEV 2 & SIEV 3

 

271

 

151 adult males

51 adult females

34 male minors

35 female minors

 

133 Afghans

5 Iranians

131 Iraqis

1 Pakistani (claimed Afghan)

1 Palestinian

 

Australian asylum claims process – State House processing centre

 

SIEV6, SIEV 9 & SIEV10

 

359

 

243 adult males

23 adult females

32 male minors

31 female minors

30 unaccompanied male minors

 

351 Afghans

8 Iranians

 

Total Nauru

 

1155

 

 

 

 

 

Manus

 

 

 

Number

 

Gender and age

 

Nationality

 

SIEV 4

 

216

 

96 adult males

46 adult females

38 minor males

36 minor females

 

213 Iraqis

1 Palestinian

2 Syrians

 

Transferred from Christmas Island

26–27 January

 

140

 

70 adult males

19 adult females

31 male minors

20 female minors

 

6 Bangladeshis

4 Iranians

117 Iraqis

2 Pakistanis

1 Palestinian

10 Turks

 

Total Manus

 

356

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Select Committee on a Certain Maritime Incident, Report, Canberra, October 2002, p. 307. Notes: Suspected Irregular Entry Vessel (SIEV).

Appendix B: Nauru and Manus caseloads by year of arrival, population movement, nationality and outcome 2001 to 2008

Nauru population movements in and out

2001 to 2008

 

Year

 

Quarter

 

Arrivals (excluding births)

 

Births

 

Transfers from Manus

 

Voluntary returns

 

Resettlements

 

Deaths

 

Population at end of each quarter

 

2001

 

July–Sept

 

533

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

533

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

584

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1119

 

2002

 

Jan–Mar

 

40

 

 

 

 

 

-4

 

 

 

 

 

1155

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

2

 

12

 

-7

 

-76

 

 

 

1086

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

3

 

40

 

-33

 

-131

 

-1

 

964

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

-251

 

-129

 

 

 

587

 

2003

 

Jan–Mar

 

3

 

4

 

 

 

-63

 

-72

 

 

 

459

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

-22

 

-5

 

 

 

434

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

-57

 

-42

 

 

 

336

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-36

 

-16

 

 

 

284

 

2004

 

Jan–Mar

 

 

 

1

 

1*

 

 

 

-19

 

 

 

267

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

-147

 

 

 

121

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-39

 

 

 

82

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-28

 

 

 

54

 

2005

 

Jan–Mar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

54

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-20

 

 

 

34

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-7

 

 

 

27

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-25

 

 

 

2**

 

2006

 

Jan–Mar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

2007

 

Jan–Mar

 

82

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-2

 

 

 

90

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-1***

 

 

 

 

 

89

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

89

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-7

 

 

 

82

 

2008

 

Jan–Mar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-82

 

 

 

0

 

Total

 

 

 

1250

 

19

 

53

 

-474

 

-847

 

-1

 

 

 

 

Notes: *In January 2004 one person (who had previously been moved from Manus to the Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in South Australia for medical treatment in 2003) was transferred to Nauru. **In November 2005 the only Nauru OPC residents remaining at the time, two Iraqi men, were moved out of the processing centre and into the community. In August 2006 one was transferred to Australia for mental health reasons and was granted a Protection Visa in January 2007. In February 2007, the remaining Iraqi man was resettled from Nauru to Sweden. ***One Burmese returned voluntarily to Malaysia in 2007 and was later resettled to Australia under the Humanitarian Program.

 

Manus population movements in and out

2001 to 2003

 

Year

 

Quarter

 

Arrivals (excluding births)

 

Births

 

Transfers to Nauru

 

Voluntary returns

 

Resettlements

 

Population at end of each quarter

 

2001

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

216

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

216

 

2002

 

Jan–Mar

 

141

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

357

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

 

 

-12

 

-4

 

 

 

341

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

2

 

-40

 

-3

 

-148

 

152

 

 

 

Oct–Dec

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

-2

 

-59

 

99

 

2003

 

Jan–Mar

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

-93

 

7

 

 

 

Apr–June

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-4

 

3

 

 

 

July–Sept

 

 

 

 

 

-1*

 

 

 

-2

 

0

 

Total

 

 

 

365

 

3

 

-53

 

-9

 

-306

 

 

 

 

Notes: *In the second half of 2003 one person was transferred from Manus to Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in South Australia for medical treatment (and then transferred again to Nauru in January 2004).

 

Nauru and Manus total caseloads

 

Nationality

 

Returned voluntarily

 

Resettled refugees

 

Resettled non-refugees

 

Deceased

 

Total

 

Afghan

 

420

 

329

 

36

 

1

 

786

 

Bangladeshi

 

4

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

7

 

Burmese

 

1

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

Iranian

 

16

 

3

 

1

 

 

 

20

 

Iraqi

 

24

 

623

 

37

 

 

 

684

 

Pakistani

 

6

 

2

 

1

 

 

 

9

 

Palestinian

 

 

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

21

 

Sri Lankan

 

4

 

84

 

 

 

 

 

88

 

Stateless

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

Turkish

 

8

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

Total

 

483

 

1075

 

78

 

1

 

1637

 

 

Nauru caseloads

 

Nationality

 

Resettled refugee

 

Resettled non-refugee

 

Returned voluntarily

 

Deceased

 

Total

 

Afghan

 

329

 

36

 

420

 

1

 

786

 

Bangladeshi

 

 

 

3

 

3

 

 

 

6

 

Burmese

 

7

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

8

 

Iranian

 

2

 

1

 

16

 

 

 

19

 

Iraqi

 

327

 

37

 

24

 

 

 

388

 

Pakistani

 

1

 

1

 

6

 

 

 

8

 

Palestinian

 

19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

 

Sri Lankan

 

84

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

88

 

Total

 

769

 

78

 

474

 

1

 

1322

 

 

Manus caseloads

 

Nationality

 

Resettled refugee

 

Resettled non-refugee

 

Returned voluntarily

 

Transferred to Nauru

 

Total

 

Bangladeshi

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

5

 

6

 

Iranian

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

4

 

Iraqi

 

296

 

 

 

 

 

44

 

340

 

Pakistani

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

2

 

Palestinian

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

Stateless

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

Turkish

 

2

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

10

 

Total

 

306

 

0

 

9

 

53

 

368

 

 

Manus to Nauru transferees

 

Nationality

 

Resettled refugee

 

Resettled non-refugee

 

Returned voluntarily

 

Total

 

Bangladeshi

 

 

 

2

 

3

 

5

 

Iranian

 

 

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

Iraqi

 

26

 

8

 

10

 

44

 

Pakistani

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

 

Total

 

26

 

12

 

15

 

53

 

 

Source:  Data for the offshore processing caseload accommodated at the Nauru and Manus Island Offshore Processing Centres (OPCs) between 2001 and 2008 provided to the Parliamentary Library by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in 2010. The statistics do not include one man accommodated at the Manus Offshore Processing Centre (OPC) who was the responsibility of the PNG immigration authorities and was later resettled to Australia.

Appendix C: Tampa caseload by nationality, outcome and resettlement country

There were 433 asylum seekers (mostly from Afghanistan) rescued at sea by the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa in August 2001. Of these, 131 Afghans went straight to New Zealand from the Tampa. The remaining 302 asylum seekers were transferred to Nauru for offshore processing.

At the request of the Nauruan government, the UNHCR agreed to conduct refugee status determination (RSD) for the asylum seekers rescued at sea by the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa and then transferred to Nauru by the Australian navy ship HMAS Manoora in September 2001.

Tampa caseload

 

Nationality

 

Returned voluntarily

 

Resettled refugees

 

Deceased

 

Afghan

 

424

 

179

 

244

 

1

 

Pakistani

 

3

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lankan

 

6

 

4

 

2

 

 

 

Total

 

433

 

186

 

246

 

1

 

 

Tampa outcomes by resettlement country

 

Nationality

 

Australia (a)

 

New Zealand (b)

 

Sweden

 

Norway

 

Total

 

Afghan

 

29

 

208

 

5

 

2

 

244

 

Sri Lankan

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

2

 

Total

 

29

 

208

 

7

 

2

 

246

 

Notes:  (a) This included 1 case assessed by DIMIA; (b) the 208 included: 131 who went straight to New Zealand from the Tampa, 14 who went straight from Nauru, 42 who went following first round of Refugee Status Determination (RSD), and 21 who went in September 2004 following a review of cases.

 

Source: UNHCR, UNHCR Nauru case load Tampa update, media backgrounder, 28 January 2005, http://www.unhcr.org.au/pdfs/tampaupdatemediabackgrounderfinal.pdf The UNHCR also agreed to process a group of asylum seekers (from a boat called the Aceng) who were transferred to Nauru together with the Tampa caseload on the HMAS Manoora. For more detail see UNHCR, Media backgrounder—the Aceng, UNHCR website, 31 May 2005, viewed 29 August 2012, http://www.unhcr.org.au/pdfs/aceng.pdf

Appendix D: Nauru and Manus caseloads by outcome and resettlement country

 

Source: Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, August 2012, p. 131, op. cit.



[1].       For further detail see H Spinks, Breaking the deadlock? The Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library, 13 August 2012, http://parliamentflagpost.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/breaking-deadlock-report-of-expert.html

[2].       For details on the introduction of the ‘Pacific Solution’ see J Phillips and A Millbank, Protecting Australia’s borders, Research note no. 22, Department of the Parliamentary Library, 24 November 2003, http://parlinfo/parlInfo/download/library/prspub/YDZA6/upload_binary/ydza66.pdf;fileType=application/pdf#search=%22phillips%22

[3].       J Gillard (Prime Minister), Press conference, transcript, 13 August 2012, viewed 23 August 2012,  http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/transcript-press-conference-canberra-28

[4].       For more detail see E Karlsen, Migration Legislation Amendment (Offshore Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Bills Digest, Parliamentary Library, 22 September 2011, viewed 23 August 2012, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22legislation%2Fbillsdgs%2F1102135%22

[5].       For further details on the progress of this Bill see the Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2012, Bills of the current Parliament website, viewed 23 August 2012, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query%3DId%3A%22legislation%2Fbillhome%2Fr4683%22;rec=0

[6].       J Phillips and A Millbank, Protecting Australia’s borders, op. cit. For details on the excisions from the migration zone of islands in northern Australia that enabled this to occur see M Coombs, Excisions from the migration zone: policy and practice, Research note, no. 42, Parliamentary Library, 1 March 2004, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FJ4TB6%22 and M Coombs, Excising Australia: are we really shrinking?, Research note, no.5, Parliamentary Library, 31 August 2005, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FEA7H6%22

[7].       Select Committee on a Certain Maritime Incident, Report, Canberra, October 2002, pp. xliii and 295–299, viewed 29 August 2012, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Former_Committees/maritimeincident/index

[8].       Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), Annual Report, 2001–02, p. 61.

[9].       See the attached tables in appendix B.

[10].      P Ruddock (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs), Numbers in offshore processing centres continue to fall, media release, 10 September 2003, viewed 22 August 2012, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2FYMDA6%22

[11].      Ibid.; and advice provided to the Parliamentary Library by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in 2010; see statistical appendix B.

[12].      Select Committee on a Certain Maritime Incident, Report, Canberra, October 2002, p. 307, op. cit.

[13].      Advice provided to the Parliamentary Library by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in 2010; see statistical appendix B.

[14].      For details on the Tampa incident see H Spinks and J Phillips, Tampa ten years on, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library, 22 August 2011, http://parliamentflagpost.blogspot.com/2011/08/tampa-ten-years-on.html

[15].      Ibid. The UNHCR also agreed to process a group of asylum seekers (from a boat called the Aceng) who were transferred to Nauru together with the Tampa caseload on the HMAS Manoora. For more detail see UNHCR, Media backgrounder—the Aceng, UNHCR website, 31 May 2005, viewed 29 August 2012, http://www.unhcr.org.au/pdfs/aceng.pdf

[16].      C Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship), Last refugees leave Nauru, media release, 8 February 2008, viewed 22 August 2012, http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2008/ce08014.htm

[17].      Ibid.

[18].      DIMIA, Offshore Processing Arrangements, fact sheet 76, DIMIA website (archived), 23 May 2005, viewed 29 August 2012, http://web.archive.org/web/20051025182708/http://www.immi.gov.au/facts/76offshore.htm

[19].      H Spinks and J Phillips, Tampa ten years on, op. cit.

[20].      Ibid., and Select Committee on a Certain Maritime Incident, op. cit., chapters 10 and 11.

[21].      Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, Inquiry methodology, AHRC website, viewed 22 August 2012, http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/children_detention_report/report/chap02.htm

[22].      Ibid.

[23].      Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), A last resort? National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, Report, Canberra, 2004, viewed 22 August 2012, http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/children_detention_report/report/index.htm

[24].      DIMIA, Offshore processing arrangements, op. cit.

[25].      Only three people arrived after that point in early 2003 according to advice provided to the Parliamentary Library by DIAC in 2010; see statistical appendix B.

[26].      Advice provided to the Parliamentary Library by DIAC in 2010; see statistical appendix B.

[27].      P Lion, ‘Nauru is worse than Iraq’, Advertiser, 20 August 2012, viewed 24 August 2012, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1859466%22

[28].      For details on these concerns more generally, particularly for children,  see R de Boer, Children in immigration detention, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library, 20 August 2012, http://parliamentflagpost.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/children-in-immigration-detention.html

[29].      K Bem, N Field, N Maclellan, S Meyer and T Morris, A price too high: the cost of Australia’s approach to asylum seekers, A Just Australia and Oxfam Australia, A Just Australia website, August 2007, viewed 22 August 2012,  http://www.ajustaustralia.com/resource.php?act=attache&id=213

[30].      M Gordon, ‘Six days on Nauru’, Inside Story, 14 August 2012, http://inside.org.au/six-days-on-nauru/ This is an edited extract from Freeing Ali: The Human Face of the Pacific Solution, published in 2005 by UNSW Press.

[31].      Oxfam, Adrift in the Pacific—the implications of Australia’s Pacific refugee solution, February 2002, viewed 23 August 2012, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fjrnart%2F1TX56%22

[32].      For an outline of the mental health effects on asylum seekers detained in Australia’s onshore immigration detention centres see J Phillips and H Spinks, Immigration detention in Australia, Background note, Parliamentary Library, January 2012, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/Detention

[33].      A Houston, P Aristotle and M L’Estrange, Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, August 2012, pp. 11, 37 and 47, viewed 24 August 2012, http://expertpanelonasylumseekers.dpmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/report/expert_panel_on_asylum_seekers_full_report.pdf

[34].      See for example:  S Taylor, ‘Wicked problems and good intentions’, Inside Story, 20 August 2012, viewed 23 August 2012, http://inside.org.au/wicked-problems-and-good-intentions/

[35].      UNHCR, UNHCR reviewing Australian changes on offshore processing, Briefing notes, 17 August 2012,  viewed 23 August 2012, http://www.unhcr.org/502e226e9.html

[36].      P Power (CEO, Refugee Council of Australia) , Australia must meet its regional responsibilities for refugees, , media release, 14 August 2012, viewed 23 August 2012, http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/n/media/120814_ExpertPanel.pdf

[37].      S Hambleton (AMA President), AMA Parliamentary dinner speech, 22 August 2012, viewed 23 August 2012, http://ama.com.au/node/8143

[38].      C Bowen (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship), Sky News, transcript, 14 August 2012, viewed 24 August 2012, http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/cb/2012/cb189263.htm

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