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Issue #1839      September 12, 2018

Morrison’s blinded Manus victim

An Iraqi refugee who was one of two people left blind in one eye after the attacks on the Manus detention centre in February 2014, has been flown to Brisbane after a court order in Melbourne last week.

Mohammad lost the sight in his right eye in the same attack that resulted in the death of Reza Barati. Unlike Reza, the other man who lost his eye that night, Mohammad was not sent to Australia for treatment. He has been progressively losing the sight in his left eye, until he is now effectively blind.

Mohammad was flown from Port Moresby to Brisbane on Sunday 1 September, for treatment to try and save some sight in his left eye. Like Reza Barati, Mohammed was a victim of the then Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, who tried to cover up the seriousness of the attack, initially claiming the asylum seekers had been attacked outside the detention centre.

Four years later, Morrison is Prime Minister and is still responsible for holding the refugees on Manus and still responsible for Border Force blocking refugees on Manus and Nauru getting badly needed medical help.

It has taken court orders to get Mohammad the help he needed when he was brutally attacked inside Manus prison four years ago.

While millions of dollars are splashed on lavish reception rooms for government officials, the Nauru hospital does not even have the most basic of facilities.

Behind the façade of the Pacific Islands Forum, Nauru administration and services are stretched to breaking point. The IHMS clinic in the detention administration compound RPC 1 is full of refugees, many of them mentally distressed children.

The IHMS senior medical officer left Nauru last week. It is understood that his visa was cancelled by the Nauruan government for showing sympathy to the cases of the sick children.

Organisations Canstruct and HOST staff, have been confined to RPC 1 for the duration of the Forum to make room for the Forum and to prevent any contact with media or international government officials. Canstruct workers had to attend compulsory media workshops last week and have been warned against speaking to any media. A majority of HOST case managers have been sent off the island.

“The media on Nauru could visit the RON hospital or try to get into RPC 1, if they wanted to get the real picture of life on Nauru. Nauru has been turned into an island prison by the Australian government and they are doing everything they can to cover up that reality, while refugees and ordinary Nauruans are deprived of desperately needed services,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Behind the scenes of the Forum, the human rights abuses, business continues as usual. Even during the week of the Forum, it is expected that the court will make orders for more children and families to be sent to Australia for medical treatment and help that they are denied on Nauru.”

Next article – Abbott envoy for Indigenous affairs “an insult”

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