Nauru asylum protests continue as self-harm casualties increase

| July 16, 2013 | Reply

Reports from the Nauru Detention Centre reveal the centre again is spiralling into crisis. The nightly protests of up to 150 asylum seekers, including Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese and Sudanese asylum seekers, are continuing.

The protests are being driven by frustration and anger at the delays and lack of transparency about processing their refugee claims on the island.

Recent arrivals are being told that it will be at least six months before they will even have their first interview. Other asylum seekers who have completed their refugee interviews were expecting to receive answers about their claim this month, but nothing has been forthcoming.

Some of the longer-term asylum seekers were expecting interviews to start again last week, but it seems that interviews have been postponed.

“There are no interviews,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition, “We are waiting but nothing has happened.”

Meanwhile, self-harm incidents are again escalating. One Iranian man who was cut down after he attempted to hang himself on Sunday night remains in the Nauru hospital. Another two asylum seekers, who have been on the island for months, cut themselves last night (Monday) – one their hand, another their neck.

“The reports from Nauru indicate an on-going serious level of dysfunction and an emerging mental health crisis in the detention centre. Many people have already been shifted from Nauru to Australia as the deteriorating medical and psychological conditions take their toll,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The so-called ‘No advantage’ rules are simply inflicting gratuitous misery on asylum seekers – on Nauru and Manus Island and on the mainland. The announcement by the Minister that the government has begun processing asylum seekers who arrived after 13 August is a cruel joke. Under the quota rules that are being applied less than 10 per cent of the arrivals will be interviewed.

“It’s time to end the delays, and end off-shore processing.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

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