Media Release: NAURU IN MELTDOWN – TWO WOMEN MISSING, BUT THREE REFUGEES SNATCHED FROM BRISBANE: DESTINED FOR NAURU?

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

NAURU IN MELTDOWN – TWO WOMEN MISSING

 BUT THREE REFUGEES SNATCHED FROM BRISBANE: DESTINED FOR NAURU?

There are fears that three refugees taken around 3.00am from the Brisbane Transit Accommodation by Border Force officers have been sent back to Nauru. Two of them were seen being bodily carried out of the detention centre by their arms and legs.

The three, one Somali woman, an Iranian and a Sri Lankan, had been brought from Nauru to Australia for medical treatment.

The transfer comes as Nauru has gone into complete meltdown. The visit by the UNHCR has resulted in protest by refugees and asylum seekers. Today will be the 39th day of protests by the asylum seekers in the family camp.

Last night (Tuesday night) four people attempted suicide by drinking washing powder and have been taken to the IHMS clinic.

This morning (Wednesday 27 April), an Iranian refugee has attempted to self-immolate at Nibok Camp in front of UNHCR representatives. Protests against the UNHCR representatives following the incident have forced them to leave Nibok camp.

Two Iranian women, Marziyeh Faghih (28) and Amineh Shajira, (34) have been missing since Sunday. It is feared they may have disappeared at sea, in an attempt to flee the island or die trying. But no search attempt has been mounted by land or sea despite appeals to Connect case managers or police.

This morning’s transfer to Nauru from BITA seems to be a vindictive move by the Immigration Department to re-establish their authority following the PNG Supreme Court finding that Manus Island was unlawful.

“There is no justification for the forced transfers from BITA this morning,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “It is sheer bloody-mindedness for the Minister to send these refugees back to Nauru just to show that he had that power. The use of Border Force officers has created panic amongst refugees and asylum seekers in the detention centre.

“Nauru is in complete social meltdown. The protests, and the attempted suicides reveal the sheer desperation of refugees and asylum seekers left in limbo for almost three years. Manus has to close; Nauru has to close.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713