Asylum seekers voluntarily leave Nauru to go home

THE first Iraqi and Iranian nationals to voluntarily leave Nauru since the government commenced regional processing are on their way home.

The four Iraqis and two Iranians, all men, chose not to pursue asylum claims nor continue waiting in a regional processing centre in Nauru.

"Instead, they chose to return home voluntarily," a Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said.

"Transfers from Nauru, as well as across the Australian immigration detention network, will continue.

"People arriving by boat will be sent to Nauru and Papua-New Guinea," he added.

To date, 82 people have been voluntarily returned, including 13 people removed from Nauru, 54 people who had been subject to offshore processing, but chose to go home rather than be sent to Nauru, and 15 people who were not subject to offshore processing but who chose to go home rather than remain in Australia for processing.

People in immigration detention can request their removal from Australia at any time.

Those who choose to depart voluntarily may be provided with individual reintegration support to assist with their sustainable return, through the International Organisation for Migration.

Reintegration packages are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on need and eligibility.

News of the departures came as Australia's Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs slammed the Federal Government's proposed changes to the Migration Act.

The changes mean asylum seekers arriving anywhere in Australia by boat have to be taken to a regional processing country.

Prof Triggs said the legislation "discriminates against some of the most vulnerable people in our region based on the way in which they arrive in Australia".

"Australia is obliged to implement the Refugees Convention in good faith. The proposed amendments to the Migration Act undermine the Refugees Convention because they penalise asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat," Prof Triggs said.

Prof Triggs said the commission was concerned that transferring asylum seekers to a third country would lead to breaches of their human rights.

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