It is worrying that the latest death on Nauru and the circumstances relating to this event have not been broadcast by the ABC*. Have these events become too commonplace or is the national broadcaster underfunded? Perhaps parts of the ABC (and all its editors) have already been sold.
The ABC was informed of the death as details came to hand.
It is true that the rate of extreme mental health breakdown and suicide in offshore transferees is exceptionally high. Many more of those assessed to be of “negative” refugee status after 5 years have become simply too hopeless and numb to function. Refugee advocates are deeply anxious and horrified by the failure of Government to act when lives are in the balance.
Both PNG and Nauru are quite fragile or failed states. Nauru will not admit journalists. There is no appellant court in Nauru these days. Violence is commonplace. There are curfews for men on Manus for their own safety.
Australia itself has horse-traded hostages for money in a corrupt environment where $1b has gone astray. Australian and overseas contractors have even retained and rehired Australian guards known to be rapists or racist thugs.
Most of the 1100 refugees held offshore are too unwell to be safe. Medical whistleblowers have repeatedly stated that most if not all need to be brought here on physical and/or mental health grounds.
Refugee activists appeal to both Shorten and Turnbull to act bilaterally on this: and swiftly.
Indefinite “detention” of asylum seekers is proving lethal and illegal. Offshore isolation on impoverished islands is irresponsible. Refoulement has its own dangers. Edmund Rice Centre says 13 Afghanis including Hazaras have been killed since being forced back to Afghanistan by Australian Immigration. They came to us for safety after decades of war.
Australia needs to increase our refugee intake and airlift those waiting in Indonesia and Malaysia. Boat-stopping and deterring drownings is a smokescreen. Boats still arrive and are turned back (whether seaworthy or not).
Our overall annual economic migrant intake (nearly 150k pa) may have to be lowered in favour of refugees for a year or two. This seems doable. Many people with the wit to flee war are in fact wealthy, highly skilled and enterprising. We need such people in our country and the cultural diversity they offer. Steadying the numbers should address some of the fears of Aussies who fear “inundation”.
Sheer wealth should not be the only selection criteria that matters, given that Australia participates in relevant wars.
The land of the “fair go” needs to give these asylum seekers, our hostages, a chance at recovery, a balanced and peaceful life.
*The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy mentioned issue briefly on ABC Insiders 17/06/18.