Nauru bullying increases asylum seeker self-harm

| October 16, 2013 | Reply

An Afghan asylum seeker detained in the main single-men’s compound on Nauru has slashed himself after Nauruan guards being denied his requests to see a doctor.

On Monday afternoon (14 October) the 27 year-old Afghan began suffering chest pains on his left side. Worried that he was suffering a heart attack, the man asked asked to see a doctor; but the Nauruan guard refused his request.

Later, other concerned asylum seekers also requested that the man be allowed to see a doctor, but the request was similarly refused.

Around midnight Monday night, the man severely slashed his chest. He refused attention and bled for two and half hours before he was taken to the medical centre.

He was released from the medical centre into the detention centre on Tuesday with extensive stitches and bandaging.

Tensions grow

Around 150 asylum seekers have now been waiting in appalling conditions for up to seven months for the Nauruan government to give answers to their refugee claims.

Clashes between the Nauruan guards and asylum seekers in the overcrowded detention centre are becoming increasingly common. Yet asylum seekers report that complaints about the heavy-handedness of the guards are routinely ignored.

One asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) that harassment by guards has become a daily feature of the detention centre. “We are forced to wait and queue for everything, Guards tried to force people out of a queue for the phone or for meals to get identification which is not necessary. If you refuse, you are bullied or threatened and sometimes guards punch the asylum seekers.”

“We welcome the announcement today that refugees will not be permanently confined to Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, “But the Nauru and Australian government are deliberately delaying the refugee assessments.

“Around 150 who have not had refugee determination interviews have been brought back to Australia and are now living in the community. But a similar number, among them many likely already found to be refugees, are left languishing. It was this kind of discrimination that resulted in the protest and fires on 19 July. Tensions are rising again.”

A protest will be held at Scott Morrison’s Cronulla electoral office at 12.00 noon, this Saturday 19 October to call for an end to off-shore processing and to highlight the deportation of the West Papuan asylum seekers.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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