Dutton defends returning kids to Nauru

(File: AAP)

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton rejects claims it's unsafe to send child asylum seekers back to Nauru in the wake of unresolved sex abuse allegations.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has defended plans to return asylum-seeker children to a Nauru detention centre despite sexual abuse allegations.

The immigration department this week confirmed there had been 19 reports of sexual abuse, five involving minors, on Nauru.

Mr Dutton rejects suggestions it would be dangerous to return minors there.

"I don't accept that," he told ABC Radio on Wednesday, adding he saw the detention centre first hand last week.

The immigration department is considering the content of a review of sexual abuse and misconduct claims on Nauru.

Mr Dutton said while the review had examined "grave allegations" at a particular point in time there had been changes since then.

"One suggestion of sexual assault is one too many," he said.

The government is moving to reduce the number of children in detention on the mainland.

Of the 126 being detained, 68 are temporarily in Australia for medical reasons and will be returned to Nauru for processing.

Another 116 children are in detention on Nauru.

Mr Dutton said there was no chance of them being resettled in Australia, even if they were found to be refugees.

Source AAP

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