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U.N. Rejects 370 Asylum Pleas, Lauds Norwegian Rescuers

June 21, 2002|From Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia — About 370 Afghans in the Pacific island state of Nauru who had applied to the United Nations to be recognized as refugees have had their applications denied, the Australian government said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the crew and owners of the Norwegian freighter Tampa were presented a U.N. prize for their daring high seas rescue of more than 430 asylum seekers who ended up at the makeshift Australian detention camp on Nauru.

Fourteen of the Afghan asylum seekers were successful in their applications, the Australian Department of Immigration said.

The $100,000 Nansen Refugee Prize from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees lauded the 27-member Norwegian crew, whose commercial freighter was diverted to rescue those aboard a sinking ferry in the Indian Ocean in August, even though they did not have the capacity to care for that many people.

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