A bitter sweet moment on Nauru as 21 refugees leave Nauru for the United States today Sunday 17 June (photos attached), only two days after a beloved asylum seeker died in a suspected suicide.
The 21 leaving Nauru are from Myanamr, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The group includes two families (one from Myanmar and one from Sri Lanka) of a mother and four children, four Rohingyan men and seven men from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But as with other flights this year, there are no refugees from Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan or Syria among those flying to the US today; the unofficial ban on nationalities under the Trump administration’s travel ban continues.
Meanwhile Nauru still mourns the death of Farhad, the 26 year old Iranian asylum seeker, who was found dead on Friday morning in his family’s tent.
A commemoration of Farhad’s life will be held at 7.00pm tonight (Sunday 17 May), on the soccer field inside the RPC 3, Family camp where Farhad and his family were held.
Farhad’s wife, his mother and younger brother have been incommunicado in RPC 1 (the detention centre administration compound) since Farhad’s death.
The “threat level” for RPC 1 and 3 is still set at 3 (probable) out of a maximum of 5. It also means that services to refugees, like provision of medications, are reduced across the island as Canstruct and other service provider staff are warned to minimise community contact. This only adds to community tension.
“The Nauru community is still in shock because of Farhad’s death,” said Ian Rintoul, ” Everyone is wondering who is next. With so many nationalities being denied entry to the US, many people are left thinking that there is only one way off Nauru now.”
Meanwhile, an Afghan man with lung cancer is dying in RPC 1, still asking that he can spend his last days in palliative care in Australia.
Over 250 people are still living in tents in the Family camp. Around 930 people including around 140 children are still being held on Nauru.
The total accepted by the US is now 186.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713