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Lawyers Call for a Royal Commission into Manus and Nauru Deaths

Media Release

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.


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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  1. helvityni

    “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?” George Newhouse

    Thank you Prof Newhouse and all the others who care…

  2. Terry2

    Turnbull’s Christmas message :

    “We also remember those who find Christmas difficult – the lonely, the poor, the sick and those who are away from their families. Reach out to them if you can.”
    Mr Turnbull said Christmas was a season of love and that people should find time for others.
    “It’s also a very important time to reach out and give a hug to those who aren’t having as happy a Christmas as you might be.”
    “You know for whatever reason – they’re lonely, sick, estranged from their families. This is a season of love, and you should share it.”

    Mr Turnbull later clarified his message was directed to dinkum Aussies only and not to those held on offshore islands who were not our responsibility anyhow and probably don’t celebrate Christmas and if they were allowed to come here, they would take our jobs whilst languishing on the dole.

  3. Michael Taylor

    Terry2, that would have been a shallow message from Turnbull. Displaying feigned sympathy for the poor while he wants to cut their pensions.

  4. Caroline

    I had to turn it off. I just couldn’t.

  5. David1

    Turnbull and Dutton are systematically killing Asylum Seekers by deliberate neglect of persons in need in their care. Never in the nations history has there been such a monstrous show of evil towards those Govt are obliged to provide for.
    Sick to my stomach as they turn their backs and continue to amass their wealth and live in luxury

  6. jim

    And these refugees will have no reason whatsoever to really hate Australia would they?.

  7. Jaquix

    Good for the NJP for holding the government up to scrutiny. Its criminal how they continue this without any penalty. I forced myself to watch Turnbull’s FAKE “Christmas message” – what a total hypcrite – when he and his mates are chasing pensioners just before Christmas. All delivered with those distracting hand movements punching the air.

  8. Barry Thompson.

    Someone should tell Malcolm to play pocket billiards instead of making those feeble hand gestures.

    I turned it off after a minute or so as I did not have a bucket handy.

  9. Rossleigh

    Before Malcolm could play “pocket billiards” he’d have to ask the Party if he could have them back for a few minutes.

  10. LOVO

    One wonders why Mal has pockets each side of his forehead……is it any wonder why his vision is so impaired.

  11. Really

    Simple. Stop letting in people from third and fourth world countries into the first world. We should be brining people that have something to offer the country. Not these subhumans that will do nothing but rely on government handouts indefinitely. As far as Manus and like. They are and always have been able to leave and go back home. Oh and their reaction to the death. Run amuck and destroy two buildings. I hope we don’t fix these buildings. Let them live in what they created. Why are we letting these people in. They create a parallel community that differs to the Australian standard of living and way of life. Take a look at Melbourne and the trouble these black Africans are creating. Then we have the Lebanese leaders demanding an apology. Yet it was proven recently that we were correct in a Muslim attack on Melbourne was planned by Lebanese mulisms. Wake up you idiots. Otherwise Australia will go the way of Europes Current state.

  12. Douglas Pye

    Oh really !!…. “Really” … one struggles to imagine your Christmas !…… and fortunately, gives up.

  13. David1

    Really …a suggestion to you…. F/OFF

  14. Michael Taylor

    It would be my guess that the good majority – if not all – of the asylum seekers held in detention are more compassionate than Really. As for “rely on government handouts indefinitely” I would like to know if Really has any proof of that. And as for them being “subhumans” I guess that explains why their countrymen/women are being slaughtered in their millions. They’re obviously not good enough to deserve life. Well, not in Really’s eyes at least.

  15. Carol Taylor

    Subhumans? I am just imagining Really…well over 6 foot tall, thick blonde hair waving its way over his shoulders, a six pack to send the ladies swooning, IQ well over 130 with a string of doctorates and published peer reviewed works to his name, no tats of course to mar his perfect frame. In fact he’s everything that gives him the right to pass judgement on lesser mortals. But pity about his ego…

  16. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Unfortunately Really many of those refugees are well educated and could contribute significantly to the Australian economy, however the Coalition recognises that there’s votes in them there boat people, though one first has to demonise them – apparently they are here to steal our jobs AND claim overgenerous benefits (that somehow the government is unable to stop) as they languish on the dole queue.

    But thanks for your comment, if only to remind us how easy it was for Hitler to subvert an entire nation with deceitful hatred.

  17. Roswell

    “well over 6 foot tall, thick blonde hair waving its way over his shoulders, a six pack to send the ladies swooning, IQ well over 130 with a string of doctorates and published peer reviewed works to his name, no tats of course to mar his perfect frame.”

    That rules me out (apart from the six feet tall, IQ well over 130 and no tats).

  18. Carol Taylor

    Steve Laing, refugees have of course made a significant contribution to our society. I wonder sometimes who some people think refugees are, and why they became refugees. It’s not just about fleeing from murderous despotic regimes, not just about being part of a persecuted minority, there are also Christians fleeing death by stoning, academics labelled as traitors for espousing democracy, girls fleeing mutilation and forced marriages, someone whose uncle worked as an interpreter for the Americans, and now the whole family is condemned to death so as to set an example.

    Yes, some Australians of middle eastern descent are getting into trouble, more than they could have imagined I suspect, but aren’t they a product of our society?

  19. Matters Not

    See what one of those ‘sub humans’ can do, even when he gives the others one hell of a start.

    A Syrian refugee who only started learning English in 2014 after fleeing the embattled city of Homs has graduated as dux of one of Australia’s largest secondary Catholic schools. In 2013, Saad Al-Kassab and his family managed to escape the bloody civil war in Syria which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Just three years later, he has been celebrated as dux of Catholic Regional College Sydenham, in Melbourne’s north-west, after earning an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 96.65.

    Saad’s English skills made it difficult for him to enrol in a school in Australia but he persisted and after four months he was getting great results.

    “I think the hardest part was getting into school. The community was lovely with me,”

    The community was lovely . Clearly not a community that Really is a part of. Then again it’s difficult to imagine what ‘first world’ community that Really could be part of. Most probably a PHON voter. He’s very afraid.

  20. Rhonda

    Really, Your understanding of ‘the Australian way of life’ has already created a “parallel community” and belief system & it really, really scares me. Happy New Year y’all

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  23. Matt

    The Royal Commission should not just be limited to health issues but all circumstances on these Islands with staff given immunity to speak openly about what has really occurred without fear of prosecution.

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