Monday November 26, 2012 8:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Nowhere in Australian public life is the hypocrisy of politicians more brazen, more aggressive, more spin-driven and more informed by embedded racism and exclusionary ruthlessness - still wholly married to the White Australia Policy's xenophobia and racism - than in the treatment of asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Now that the first asylum seeker may soon die on Nauru he has become one of the horror markers of Julia Gillard's norms and values and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's brazen and mad stubbornness," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said today.
With the latest news reaching us via a Media Release about Omid, who is close to death (see RAC Media Release below), we may want to consider a message received from one asylum seeker. A few days ago an asylum seeker on Nauru wrote:
"Australia says it wants to save lives in the sea, but it will not save
the lives on Nauru. It is better to finish this quickly.
The camp is flooded, tents are leaking.
This is Nauru hell. It is better to die."
"This asylum seeker's outcry is an almost prophetic warning to Australia's politicians. It is an emergency call that the banishment to godforsaken islands and remote and inaccessible camps needs to end now and needs to end forever," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Australia has form for racism and exclusionary torture methods. For seven decades the Immigration Department has unchecked and unlimited powers under the White Australia Policy to snatch and grab people, apply the most heinous and callous "Dictation Test" before deporting them as "undesirable aliens".
"For even longer periods Australia rounded up and stole the children of Australia's Indigenous People and made them slaves of it's White Assimilation and Forced Education methods in institutions. Now that it's no longer politically correct to steal and imprison Aboriginal children, we apply the same torture methods to asylum seekers who sail to our shores."
"This brazen institutionalised torture methodology of the Canberra Human Rights Criminals who govern this country needs to stop, and it needs to stop right now."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
MEDIA RELEASE: Nauru hunger strike continues - fears grow for Omid after 46 days
Monday November 26, 2012
Refugee Action Coalition
Ian Rintoul +61 417 275 713
Nick Riemer 0435 533 027
It is feared that Omid Sorousheh, the 35 year old Iranian hunger striker on Nauru, may be close to death.
Omid, who has been on hunger strike for 46 days, was returned to the Nauru detention camp late yesterday (Sunday 25 November), when the Nauru hospital declared that it was no longer able to care for him.
This Monday morning he remains in the camp surrounded by four security guards. Omid has been refusing water and he also self-harmed in the Nauru hospital on 24 November.
"Omid has only one or two days. We think that he will die," one asylum seeker on Nauru told the Refugee Action Coalition.
In a statement, released by Omid yesterday, Omid said, "I will not stop my hunger strike until they transfer me back to Australia or I will die here [on Nauru]. What is the difference between me and the others who come [to Australia] after 13th of August [and who will] be given bridging visas and be released to Australia. But me and 399 more must be stay here in [Nauru] in a very bad situation."
Five other Iranians are on their 26th day of hunger strike. Thirty others began a hunger strike on Friday. Some of them have been refusing water are also refusing medical treatment. One of them has collapsed and is reportedly too weak to walk.
All the hunger strikers are demanding that Nauru be closed and that all asylum seekers on Nauru be returned to Australia to begin being processed.
"We are calling on the Minister to end the cruelty of Nauru and immediately bring Omid to Australia. The Immigration Minister will be responsible if Omid dies. The Minister's claim that the Nauru government runs the detention camp is a fiction," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
While some Sri Lankans have had entry interviews, the majority of asylum seekers at the camp are refusing to be interviewed. "Why are the asylum seekers who like me arrived in Australia after 13 August, starting their process in with DIAC and we are being processed in Nauru? Where is the justice?" asked one asylum seeker from Nauru.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul +61 417 275 713 or Nick Riemer 0435 533 027