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Issue #1587      March 27, 2013

Attempted suicide on Nauru

Although some initial meetings between Tamil asylum seekers and advisers have begun, the Nauru detention camp last week remained in turmoil.

Around 20 people remain on hunger strike and another Iranian asylum seeker attempted to hang himself. He had been cut down and taken to the camp medical centre but his condition is unknown.

Meanwhile, the final one of the 10 asylum seekers who had stitched their lips together on February 19 has been transferred to the Australian mainland.

The March 20 edition of the Nauru Bulletin reports that five Nauruan “refugee status determination officers” have been flown to Melbourne for further training with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Afghan man to be returned to Manus Island

Asylum seekers at Villawood detention centre have serious concerns at moves to transfer an Afghan man to Manus Island. The Afghan asylum seekers in his 50s recently had surgery for a double hernia, but had been placed in isolation in preparation for his removal.

“He is not well enough to be sent back,” Villawood asylum seekers told the Refugee Action Coalition, “He cannot sit or walk properly.”

The Refugee Action Coalition is calling on the PNG government to prevent the Australian government returning asylum seekers to Manus Island.

“Manus Island is no fit place for any asylum seeker and the future of the detention camp is in serious doubt. Nineteen people were transferred to the Australian mainland last week because the medical facilities there are completely inadequate. We hope that the PNG government’s halt on further transfers to Manus Island will be extended to the Afghan man in Villawood,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

The constitutional challenge by PNG Opposition leader Belden Namah, to Australia’s Manus Island detention camp, will have a further directions hearing in the PNG Supreme Court on March 27.   

Next article – Public housing crisis as tenants face eviction

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