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A file photo of asylum-seekers inside the detention centre at Nauru (ABC News/Department of Immigration)

The number of asylum-seekers on Nauru appears to have topped 100, with a further two groups of 37 people sent to the Pacific island. Source: The Guardian

The people, classified as “unauthorised maritime arrivals”, include 33 Bangladeshis who were found on Christmas Island on May 9, one of whom is a woman. Their boat was destroyed by bad weather.

The second group includes four Vietnamese men who arrived near Broome on May 10.

Last week, Australian Border Force officials revealed that 54 people had been transferred from Australia to Nauru in March, and this figure increased to 64 as of May.

In response to questions about the arrivals and the total on Nauru, an Australian Border Force spokesperson said: “The ABF does not confirm or comment on operational matters.”

Australia’s policy of deterrence against asylum-seeker boats is under strain, with three boats arriving in a single week in May.

On May 31, ABF confirmed that five Rwandan men who arrived at Saibai Island in the Torres Strait were returned to Papua New Guinea, but declined to answer questions about the Broome and Christmas Island cohorts.

Nauru was emptied as an offshore processing centre in June 2023, but was reanimated in September when a group of 11 asylum-seekers was sent to the island, the first such transfer in nine years.

People smuggling ventures reached Western Australia in November and February, resulting in heightened political criticism by the Coalition against the Labor government’s handling of borders.

Ogy Simic, head of advocacy for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said the Government needed to be transparent about its plans for people held on Nauru, and “reassure the public that this will not be a case of history repeating itself with people enduring years of indefinite detention”.


Number of asylum seekers on Nauru jumps as Australia transfers 37 people who arrived by boat (By Ben Doherty and Paul Karp, The Guardian)