June 1, 2015
Refugee Action Coalition
ADVOCATES CALL ON MINISTER TO BRING 11 YEAR-OLD REFUGEE TO AUSTRALIA
TO SAVE HIS ARM
Refugee advocates are calling for the Immigration Minister to act
immediately to bring an 11 year-old Iranian refugee to Australian for
an urgent operation to reset his broken arm.
The 11 year old broke his arm when he fell off his bike on Nauru on 4
May. A cast was put on the arm on 5 May at the Nauruan hospital. But
an x-ray two weeks later showed the bones were hopelessly out of
alignment. (see photo attached).
The boy is a victim of Australian government policy that provides
different levels of care to those who are asylum seekers (and in
detention) from those who are found to be refugees and living outside
detention on Nauru.
When, medical contractor IHMS thought Erfan was an asylum seekers, his
parents had been told he would be sent to Australia for an urgent
operation to reset his arm. However, when it was discovered that his
family were refugees, they were told that Erfan would be treated on
Australian doctors have expressed their concerns at the delayed treatment.
The Nauru government has now requested that a “a specialist medical
team from Australia be sent to Nauru to treat this boy as soon as
This is implicit admission that Erfan’s medical treatment has so far
been deficient and that the expertise for the necessary operation does
not exist on Nauru.
“While providing an Australian medical team to Nauru would be a
significant step forward, we have no confidence that Erfan can be
properly treated in the conditions that exist on Nauru,” said Ian
Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“There are serious questions marks over the risks of the operation
itself and perhaps even hight concerns at the post-operative care
including the risk of infection and rehabilitation. Hospital
conditions are well below anything acceptable in Australia.
“The circumstances of Erfan only highlight the serious lack of medical
care available for refugees on Nauru. The fact is that as refugees,
they are at a distinct disadvantage, as the Australian government
maintains the fiction that Nauru has responsibility for the refugees.”
There are others who need urgent medical care. A 36 year-old Iranian
female refugee, Tahereh, has been receiving morphine injections for
over a year for a back injury suffered when she fell in the showers
inside the detention centre.
Now doctors have recommended that she have an MRI – but there is no
MRI facility on Nauru. How long is Tahereh expected to suffer?
Another Somali female refugee has had gynaecological problems for
months and has a identifiable mass on her ovary but has been left
“The Minister must act urgently to bring Erfan and the others that
need urgent medical help to Australiam where they can receive the
medical help they need,” said Rintoul.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
(photo of x ray and conditions in Nauru hospital attached)