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“The Australian representative for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees says the longer it takes to start processing asylum seekers on Nauru the more trauma it will cause them.

Authorities are yet to start processing the claims of the 7,000 who have arrived in Australia by boat since the government announced it would restart offshore processing.

About 370 of those are being housed in temporary facilities on Nauru.

Australia’s UNHCR representative, Richard Towle, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that delays in indefinite detention is a “difficult cocktail of ingredients”.

“Clearly delays for people in indefinite forms of detention, as it appears for people in Australia and Nauru, without any clarity and certainty as to when they will have their claims assessed does cause a serious degree of frustration, and if people have underlying psycho-social trauma and issues it can quickly exacerbate them,” he said.

Australia’s Government had hoped a move towards offshore processing would discourage people from trying to reach Australia by boat.”