The looming refugee death that Gillard and Bowen don't dare mention

November 26, 2012

The Refugee Action Collective Victoria released this statement on November 27.


Omid, an Iranian asylum seeker, 35 years old has been on hunger strike for 47 days including four days of refusing water

A statement from asylum seekers on Nauru late last night (26/11/12) said:

"His body getting paralysed and the internal function of his body is going to be stop soon. He is in extreme stage of internal bleeding. He has let the security and medical staff to know that his death bring all of them to the court of justice. The Nauru hospital doctor staff had observed and analysis him. They found out that it’s late to treat him. They reject him to be admitting in hospital. They left him in tent in the hand of God. Is this the only solution for him? He has gone on strike for this long time for the sake of his freedom. Are you approve of his death?"

"These are questions that must be put to Immigration minister Chris Bowen and Prime Minister Julia Gillard," said Chris Breen for the Refugee Action Collective.

"Bowen and Gillard should have intervened weeks ago to bring Omid to Australia and processed his asylum claim immediately, and stop this needless death. But like Margaret Thatcher staring down IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands as he died, they refuse to budge. They won't even mention Omid’s name, or acknowledge the hunger strike,” said Breen.

Omid is not alone. Five other Iranians are on their 27th day of hunger strike. Thirty others began a hunger strike on Friday. One of them has collapsed and is too weak to walk.

The letter from Asylum Seekers on Nauru continues:

“Hasn’t it got the time to take him back to Australia and treat him the same as those, who arrived after 13th August? ....The bitter reality of Nauru’s detention centre will shock the world”

The Refugee Action Collective demands that Omid and the other asylum seekers on Nauru are brought back to Australia and their asylum claims processed immediately.

“Bowen and Gillard have used "deaths at sea" as humanitarian cover to sell their brutal policy. Omid's impending death shows what a lie that cover is. If Omid dies, Chris Bowen and Julia Gillard will be to blame," said Chris Breen.

Melbourne rally — The Refugee Action Collective has called a candlelight vigil in solidarity with Omid and all asylum seekers on Nauru. Friday November 30, 7 – 9pm, Old City Square, corner Swanston and Collins Sts.

Speakers include Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Aran Mylvaganam from the Tamil Refugee Council.

Sydney rally Don't let Omid die: call on the government to act now. Rally in solidarity with hunger strikers on Nauru. 12.30pm. Friday 30 November, Tanya Plibersek's Office, 150 Broadway, Chippendale.

Perth snap action — Save Omid. Protest outside Louise Pratt's office. 1pm. Wednesday 28 November, 81 Bennett St, East Perth. Contact Refugee Rights Action Network

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