Sydney, Australia – 25 Dec, 16 – 10am
In the wake of the latest death (acknowledged in Brisbane on 24.12.16) of Faysal Ishak Ahmed, a 27-year-old Sudanese refugee held on Manus Island the National Justice Project, the not-for-profit human rights law centre in Sydney, has demanded a prompt inquest into the circumstances of the death and called on the Australian Government to institute a Royal Commission into the miserable level of medical care that refugees receive on Manus and Nauru.
Adjunct Professor George Newhouse, Principal Solicitor of the National Justice Project and a Professor of Law at Macquarie University, said, “I send my condolences to the family of this young man. Tragically, he is the latest victim of a systemically cruel and inhumane system designed and operated by the Australian Government.”
“We have many vulnerable clients on Manus and Nauru are not receiving adequate healthcare and we are consistently working and taking action on their behalf. It appears that Faysal did not receive appropriate treatment for his condition and we now have another death that was likely to have been entirely avoidable.”
“This is the tip of the iceberg. The government consistently delays necessary medical treatment, often until it is too late. Evidence given at the Coronial inquest into Hamid Khazaei’s death has confirmed that the government’s political manoeuvring can be fatal. An inquest would determine whether the Government’s actions, poor medical care or both contributed to Fayzal’s death but they take time and how many more individuals will die waiting for the government to act on such recommendations.
A Royal Commission with broader enquiry powers into the provision of health care on Nauru and Manus is necessary to lift the lid on this scandalous state of affairs” Newhouse said.
Professor Newhouse continued, “The Minister for Immigration is on record complaining of a War on Christmas. Where is this government’s spirit of charity and love for the most desperate and vulnerable people in the world at this time?”
The NJP has called for an investigation into Faysal’s death by the Queensland Coroner, as well as an investigation into the death of Rakhib Khan, who died waiting for a medical evacuation from Nauru earlier this year.
The National Justice Project has already successfully sued Peter Dutton and the Department of Immigration for negligence on behalf of a young woman who was raped and fell pregnant on Nauru (the S99 Federal Court case in May 2016).
The NJP also has dozens of cases of individuals and families suffering in pain without proper care or treatment.
When so many outstanding neglect cases are taken into account, together with the deaths of Hamed Khazaei, Rakib Khan and now Faysal Ahmed it is clear that there is an urgent need for a broader enquiry – with Royal Commission powers – into the provision of health and medical care on Nauru and Manus Island.
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed – John 3:20.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL JUSTICE PROJECT
The National Justice Project is a not for profit legal organisation. We combine strategic legal action with effective advocacy to advance human rights and social justice in Australia and in the Pacific Region.
For further information please visit our website – www.justice.org.au
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