Nauru

He is only ten years old

Dear Prime Minister,

I cannot believe I live in a country where a letter like this is necessary. Your Minister of Home Affairs tried to block life-saving tertiary psychiatric care for a ten-year-old child who has been suicidal since 2013. This is the second court case Minister Dutton's department has lost recently over the acute medical care urgently needed for children detained on Nauru.

The judge ruled that Australia “held a duty of care” to the boy and his family as the entity that had placed them on the island and which ran the offshore processing centre and the regime that held them.
— Ben Doherty, The Guardian Australia

This comes after Dr Nick Martin's damning revelations of how medical care for refugees is routinely blocked.

Every clinical decision that you made was being questioned by a non-medic. I had never had that in the forces. Your expertise and your autonomy was respected in the Royal Navy but in [Australia’s] border force you did absolutely feel there was a political influence on the clinical cases.
— Dr Nick Martin

I have previously written a number of letters to you about the dangerously inadequate healthcare for refugees on both Nauru and Manus Island. What action will you take to ensure all outstanding medical treatments are delivered immediately to the refugees?

Arrested for complaint

Dear Prime Minister,

The refugees housed at West Haus, Lorengau, Manus Island have struggled since being forced there on 24 November 2017 with poor living conditions. Power and water cease working for days at a time. The water is too dirty to drink and causes skin inflammation. On 20 March one of the refugees made a complaint that

West has no mess for our meals, not enough living space, no toiletries, weekly allowance not enough for daily needs.
— https://t.me/ManusAlert/3611

Security had him arrested.

These men are Australia's responsibility. Bring them here.

For the women of Nauru

Dear Prime Minister,

On March 8 Michele Feinberg wrote:

Today, March 8, is also International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate our achievements and hard won freedoms. When we say ‘leave no woman behind’. However, there are some women who are left behind. These are the women who our government has incarcerated for nearly five years on Nauru and in Immigration Detention in Australia. They include women who have suffered sexual and physical abuse while in our ‘care’. They include women who have given birth alone because our Government refused to allow their partners to attend the birth. They are women denied access to adequate medical care. They are women who are forced to live apart from their husbands or children. They include women denied timely and safe abortions. They are women whose health suffers because they still live in mouldy tents. They include women who have succumbed to self harm and mental illness because of our government has stolen their hope and their futures. Malcolm Turnbull pays lip service to the need to afford women safety and respect. Yet he affords this group of women neither safety nor respect. He affords them only danger, cruelty, neglect, suffering, and vilification. Ring Malcolm Turnbull (02 6277 7700) today and tell him that he has no right to partake of our celebrations while our sisters in Immigration Detention still suffer at his hands.
— Michele Feinberg
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To the person who opens and reads these letters at the PM's office: I imagine that not one of the letters I have written so far to the Prime Minister (591) has been seen by him. Please show him this one. If he won't look at it, ask yourself 'Do I want to be working for a system which allows this to happen? Should my income and career depend partly on women and children being locked up on Nauru?'

Drip drip drip

Dear Prime Minister,

Could the process of transferring refugees from Manus and Nauru to the US go any slower?

22 of the more than 1000 refugees on Nauru left for the US this weekend. Daniel Webb says:

The tragic reality is that hope for a handful doesn’t end the suffering of those left behind. It’s great that these 22 people will tomorrow wake up in freedom and safety. But over 1800 others will awake to the same painful limbo that has confronted them every morning for the last four and a half years.
...
This dark chapter in our history does not close - this painful chapter in their lives does not end - until every single man, woman and child tormented on Nauru and Manus for the last four years is finally safe. Over 1800 innocent people - 150 children - have had four and a half years of their lives ripped away from them. It is the Australian Government’s responsibility to ensure they have a future.
— Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre

There must be an urgent solution to bring freedom and safety to the 742 men on Manus and the 1048 men, women and children on Nauru. Evacuate Now.

Suicidal child

Dear Prime Minister,

It has taken a Federal Court order to force the Commonwealth to save the life of a young girl. Health professionals, aid agencies, humanitarian organisations, advocates and refugees have struggled for years to get proper healthcare for the children on Nauru. Apparently Minister Dutton does not care if a child commits suicide.

Judge Bernard Murphy said:

The injury or damage the applicant may suffer if an injunction is refused — death or a further serious deterioration in her health — carries far more weight in the balance than the wasted expenditure the Commonwealth may suffer if an injunction is granted.
— http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-09/nauru-refugee-to-be-transferred-to-australia-over-suicide-risk/9416276

Sack Minister Dutton. End offshore detention. Bring all asylum seekers to freedom and safety now.

Mould and the Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

Again I ask you to reconsider your support of Minister Dutton. Today's example of mismanagement, cover-ups and endangering the health of Australians and refugees comes from Nauru. SBS News reports that the Australian constructed buildings at RPC1 on Nauru were riddled with mould and 'rotting from the inside out.' Staff who slept there suffered health problems including cognitive and neurological symptoms, chronic pain, chest infections and persistent coughs. 'Authorities at the centre' blamed these health issues on dust from passing trucks. The floor rotted through yet in a 2015 meeting between DIBP and the construction firm Canstruct the blame was laid on the RPC1 staff's 'heavy foot traffic.' A leaked email from Canstruct said their staff who knew about the extent of the mould problem were gagged.

Who authorised the original shoddy building? Who covered up the problem and delayed repairs? How much will Minister Dutton's department spend on another out-of-court settlement with the Australian employees when they sue for damages?

Ill Newborn

Dear Prime Minister,

On 28th January I wrote to you about baby Melvin, born on Nauru 3 weeks earlier and gravely ill. He and his mother were sent 'home' to their camp on Nauru. However the baby is still unwell, His navel is still bleeding, he cries from pain and does not sleep. His mother cannot get medication to treat him, not even antiseptic ointment to prevent another infection.

How does withholding medical treatment from a newborn benefit Australia's security?

All We Can't See

Dear Prime Minister,

We remember the Nauru files. The exhibition 'All We Can't See' is on in Sydney at the Yellow House Gallery until Feb 10th.

Step Repeat II , 2017. Acrylic, ink and gouache on board. Artist: Mark Whalen

Step Repeat II, 2017. Acrylic, ink and gouache on board. Artist: Mark Whalen


27 September 2014 | Risk rating: Information | Type of incident: Complaint |

“...when an asylum seeker slashed his neck, other rushed to his aid. They were stopped by Wilsons guards who stood in a circle around the hurt asylum seeker. They then started to tease the asylum seekers about their desire to go to Australia, and told them ‘you will never be let out of here’.”
— https://www.facebook.com/eyesonoffshore/posts/1987836131485989

Where art leads, politics follows.

Corruption on Nauru

Dear Prime Minister,

Radio NZ reports that the refugees detained on Nauru have had some of their meagre services taken away. Host International, who provides services for the refugees, has had to divert funds away from refugees to help pay for the lavish celebrations of Nauru's 50 years of independence. Most of the funds are spent on the Nauruan elite.

Where is the accountability? How much of the money Australia spends on Nauru goes to the refugees? How much goes to the Nauruan citizens? How much goes to Baron Waqa and the elite?

Free the children

Dear Prime Minister,

We need to remind everyone – especially the politicians — about the plight of the children and families on Nauru. Mandatory detention is a denial of fundamental human rights.

We need to strongly reinforce the message that there are over 150 children detained on Nauru – not behind barbed wire, but they are still there, detained, robbed of their childhood and being used as political pawns. Here is a breakdown of the numbers of children in the 6 camps, as of October 25, 2017:

OPC 3 Camp – 52 children
EWA Camp – 22 children, aged from 2 to 18 years
Nibok Camp – 20 children, aged from 1 to 15 years
Anibare Camp – 3 children, aged 7 months, 2 years, 12 years
Ejoo Camp – 12 children including four 2 year-olds
Anijo Camp – approx. 51 children, aged 6 months to 18 years.

More than 150 children on Nauru. Nauru has become an island prison.
— Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children, Ballarat and Bendigo

Federal Cabinet can free refugees at any time

Dear Prime Minister,

The Australian government’s determination that the refugees residing on Manus and Nauru never come to Australia and its inability to find other homes for all of them has created what one MP calls an “intractable problem”. There are many intractable problems in international affairs but this is most certainly not one of them. The solution is a straightforward one and entirely within the authority of the federal cabinet to implement. It is high time it did so.
— Jenny Hayward-Jones, http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/australia-refugee-2017/

Bring all refugees on Manus and Nauru to freedom and safety now.