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Asylum Seekers Arrive in Nauru - 2001-09-19


The first group of asylum seekers denied entry into Australia has arrived on the tiny island nation of Nauru, where their requests to be granted refugee status are to be processed.

Many locals were on hand to welcome the first group of about 100 refugees, who were ferried ashore today (Wednesday) from an Australian navy vessel. They were taken by bus to a hastily built detention center.

Most of those who went ashore were among the 433 mostly Afghan asylum seekers rescued from a sinking Indonesian ferry in the Indian Ocean August 26th. A Norwegian freighter took the refugees toward Australia, but Canberra denied them entry.

The refugees were then transferred to the Australian navy ship, which picked up an additional 230 migrants from another Indonesian vessel September 7th.

An Australian federal appeals court sided with the government Monday in its move to keep the boat people out of Australia. The appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that said the government must accept the asylum seekers.

Nauru agreed to accept more than 500 asylum petitions. About 150 refugees are expected to go to New Zealand.

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