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October 11, 2012


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The Refugee Action Coalition has received information from Nauru that an Iranian asylum seeker attempted suicide this morning, Thursday, 11 October.

The man was “turning blue” when he was found by fellow asylum seekers. He is now under observation.

The attempted suicide follows the visit of Immigration Chris Bowen to Nauru several days ago. Asylum seekers on Nauru have told the Refugee Action Coalition that the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen had told them that it would be between 8 months and a year before refugee processing would begin on Nauru.

That was the time he said it would take Australia to train assessors and provide interpreters.

There are growing levels of frustration and anguish on Nauru.

The lack of facilities and their hopeless situation was making them depressed. “There is nothing but eating and sleeping, eating and sleeping,” a Nauruan asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition. “We are victims. We have no future; putting us in Nauru is a contradiction of human rights,” he said.

The attempted suicide also highlights the lack of medical facilities for the asylum seekers. The Refugee Action Coalition has been told there is only one doctor for the camp and that an outbreak of what the asylum seeker called influenza, has gone through the camp.

“To have an attempted suicide so early in the history of Gillard’s Pacific Solution is an extremely bad sign,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Delayed processing will inevitably create mental health issues, just as it did under the Howard government. Nauru is ill-equipped to deal with the mental health problems that will emerge.

“This also raises all the questions about the discriminatory process of selecting to be sent to Nauru. What kind of screening is the department undertaking to select the people to be sent to Nauru. The Minister should heed the warning, close Nauru, and end all off-shore processing. It is already a disaster,” Rintoul said.

A rally opposing offshore processing will be held in Sydney on Sunday, 14 October, 1.00pm, Town Hall. Speakers include Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

For more information call Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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