Asylum seekers escape from Nauru detention centre

| February 18, 2013 | Reply

Five Iranian asylum seekers escaped from the Nauru detention centre in the early hours of this morning, in another sign of the spiral of despair inside the camp.

Two of them have been retrieved and were brought back to the centre by about 8.30am this morning, but the others remain missing.

“These escapes, just like those on Manus Island, show the hopelessness and frustration produced by the new Pacific Solution, and the desperate lengths to which this is driving asylum seekers,” said Nick Riemer, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition

All the asylum seekers in the camp were woken by an emergency siren at 7am, after initial checks of asylum seekers by staff indicated some were missing.

All the escapees are from among the most recent group of arrivals on Nauru. Their escape follows a whole series of incidents of self-harm and hunger striking among the new arrivals over the last week (see here).

The mental health of the other asylum seekers on Nauru continues to worsen. Almost all the earlier arrivals on the island are now on medication of some sort. There is also increasing frustration about the standard of medical care. Many asylum seekers with more minor ailments including rashes and diarrhea are being turned away from the medical centre, which does not have sufficient supplies to help them. Asylum seekers say the level of grief and despair in the camp are insurmountable.

“The government is playing with asylum seekers’ lives on Nauru and Manus Island”, said Nick, “We are calling on new Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor to shut these hellholes down.”

For further information contact Nick Riemer 0435 533 027

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