Friday, 24 September 2021
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon. Lionel Rouwen Aingimea - New agreement to secure our region from maritime people smuggling

The Australian and Nauruan Governments have today signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an enduring regional processing capability in Nauru.

Regional processing is a key pillar of the Australian Government’s strong border protection policies. Under Operation Sovereign Borders, people who attempt to travel to Australia illegally by boat are turned back, or transferred to a regional processing country for assessment of asylum claims.

The new memorandum of understanding provides a framework for a continuing regional processing presence in Nauru and demonstrates both countries’ continued commitment to countering maritime people smuggling.

“This is a significant step for both our countries and I thank President Aingimea for his ongoing commitment to regional leadership in stamping out the threat of maritime people smuggling,” Minister Andrews said.

“Australia’s strong and successful border protection policies under Operation Sovereign Borders remain and there is zero chance of settlement in Australia for anyone who arrives illegally by boat. 

“Anyone who attempts an illegal maritime journey to Australia will be turned back, or taken to Nauru for processing. They will never settle in Australia.”

His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Nauru, Honourable Lionel Aingimea said that: “Although, this Memorandum of Understanding extends the bilateral arrangement, which has already been in existence since 2012, it now creates an enduring form of offshore processing. This takes the regional processing to a new milestone. It is enduring in nature, as such the mechanisms are ready to deal with illegal migrants immediately upon their arrival in Nauru from Australia.” 

In addition, the President also reaffirmed that “Nauru has worked together with Australia to ensure that those who are successful in their asylum applications are settled in third countries and not in Australia.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the memorandum was signed today in a joint ceremony taking place online.