Asylum seekers get a tour of Nauru

Asylum seekers are taken on a tour of Nauru.
Asylum seekers are taken on a tour of Nauru.

One of their buses was labelled "Aussie Sights Coach Tours" but it is unlikely the Tamil asylum seekers on board actually believed they were to see the country they have risked their lives to flee to.

From their new Nauruan homes - large green army tents on the fiendishly hot and hilly centre of the island - the 36 Sri Lankan asylum seekers that arrived on Tuesday were yesterday taken on a tour of the island.

Given the entire island covers only 21 square kilometres, it did not take long.

Driven slowly around the island in two buses flanked front and back by security cars, as the men looked out the windows they could not help but notice the island's dominant feature - the vast blue of the Pacific Ocean.

That blue would be a reminder to the men, who have already spent weeks or months waiting on Christmas Island, that despite wanting asylum in Australia, they are now halfway to Hawaii, on an island most famous for being the world's smallest republic.

Despite the Nauruan government saying the men are currently allowed to leave the processing centre - it remains unnamed and even the immigration department continue to refer to it only as "the facility" - as long as they are accompanied, yesterday's 45 minute bus tour is likely to be the only time they leave camp for some time.

The first group of arrivals, 30 Tamil men who arrived last Friday, were taken on a similar trip but since then have not left the camp.

The Nauruan government and the Australian immigration department continue to forbid media from visiting the camp or speaking to its inmates.

Two more groups of arrivals - believed to be Tamils and Hazaras from Afghanistan - are expected to arrive this week and early next week, though the immigration department remains tight-lipped about the details.

This story Asylum seekers get a tour of Nauru first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.