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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 1) - Australia says it has
offered voluntary repatriation to 95 Iraqis it is holding in its detention
center on Nauru after rejecting their application for refugee status.

The Australian Immigration Department says another 11 Iraqis,
who Australia classified as refugees, will be resettled when the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights can find resettlement countries.

The offers come as the Australian military is fighting a
U.S.-led war in Iraq.

For about 18 months, Australia has been holding a 455 asylum
seekers on Nauru.

A department spokesperson says those who turn down voluntary
repatriation will remain on Nauru under the supervision of the International
Organization of Migration. The IOM is currently investigating options for those
who will not voluntarily return to Iraq.

Meanwhile, seven asylum seekers remain at the Australian
detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

April 1, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: 

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