Iranian refugee brain-dead after medical attention denied in Australian concentration camp


Some truly tragic news. Hamid Kehazaei, a 24-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, recently suffered a cut to his foot while being detained by the Australian government on Manus Island in Papua Newguinea. After the cut became infected, it's reported that Hamid sought medical attention and was denied for days, resulting in acute blood poisoning. Today we learned that, after being transferred to a hospital in Brisbane, he has been declared brain dead.

This is beyond the pale. Once again we have blood on our hands because of the inhumane, indecent and negligent actions of our government and its treatment of asylum seekers. Desperate people who cross the seas looking for safety, a future and - at the very least - humane treatment.

This incident is unimaginable for Hamid and his family - and our thoughts and prayers are with them right now. And while we cannot undo what has been done, we can influence what happens next.

We will not stand by while asylum seekers are treated with inhumanity and contempt, in our name. Enough is enough. That's why - overnight - community groups, refugee advocates, faith groups and everyday Australians are banding together to once again come together for candlelit vigils in solidarity with asylum seekers and hope for an end to the shameful and fatal conditions in which we keep asylum seekers.

We will once again Light the Dark in memory of yet another young man whose life may end prematurely because of our government's neglect.

Our petition for an end to this shameful policy will be presented in Parliament this week - and we will also present it to Hamid's family this week to show our sympathy and solidarity. Add your name now:

Today is yet another damning condemnation of Australia's detention centres, and our despicable human rights record in our treatment of asylum seekers. These deaths must stop. We must put an end to the cruelty, to the deaths, and shut down these centres once and for all.

Our government has had time to act. Seven months have passed since Reza Berati was brutally murdered while being detained by Australia in the Manus Island detention centre in February of this year. And this week could see yet another entirely preventable death.

It's inexcusable that events like this are occurring in our name, and unthinkable to think that they could pass in silence. Too much, and too many, have been lost already.

Sign on to this response now, and we'll let you know about the location of any snap actions happening in your local area as soon as the details are announced:

Thanks for all that you do,

Erin, Alycia, Sally, Kayla, Kelsey and the GetUp team

PS - If you live around Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide, there may be a candlelit vigil near you on Thursday evening. Click here to RSVP:




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Governments disgust me



By Papua New Guinea correspondent Liam Cochrane September 4, 2014, 6:26 am


Leaked security reports from Manus Island describe frequent self-harm, suicide watch and the use of isolated confinement at the Australian-run detention facility for asylum seekers.


The reports were written by staff from Transfield Services, the company contracted to provide security and catering services on Manus Island.


They report that "major incidents" are happening almost every day at the centre, including fights between detainees, attacks against guards, self-harm and suicide attempts.  


The leaked documents are daily security and intelligence reports from July obtained by refugee advocates Humanitarian Research Partners (HRP) and shared with media.


In the most serious case of self-harm reported, a man cut himself with a razor, requiring 20 stitches to his chest and refusing treatment for two long cuts to his head.


The report said the asylum seeker had recently been told he could not voluntarily return to his home country because he was a witness to the killing of Reza Barati in February and had to stay on Manus Island until the investigation was complete.


"Due to this, [he] has been on whisky watch since 26 July," said the report.


Whisky watch is the term used at the centre for monitoring asylum seekers showing mental health problems, and can be every three hours, every 30 minutes or constant observation.


HRP said an average of 14 asylum seekers were placed on whisky watch each day.

On July 21, a man tried to commit suicide and when he was stopped he bit his own arm.


In a separate incident on the same day, an asylum seeker cut himself with a razor.


The reports show that at the end of July there were 18 asylum seekers staying in Australia and six staying in Port Moresby out of the total 1,145 men considered part of the Manus Island detainees.


Several asylum seekers have been transferred to Australia for serious medical treatment, but it is not clear why so many others have been moved off Manus Island.

Human rights group notifies UN of 'harmful practices'


The Transfield Services reports describe how aggressive or "non-compliant" asylum seekers are taken to an isolated area known as Chauka.


Chauka compound is not listed on the official map of the regional processing centre, but HRP said it was located at a different part of the Lombrum navy base, several hundred metres away from the main accommodation.


The group describes Chauka as three shipping containers forming a triangular courtyard covered in shade cloth, with a guard posted at the entry. HRP said each shipping container contained one single bed and nothing else.


"It seems as though part of the purpose of Chauka compound is to encourage more compliant behaviour through the visible punishment of a few key detainees," HRP wrote.


Transfield Services denies the "managed behavioural area" is for solitary confinement.


"The claims in the media are unsupported and deliberately misleading to create a negative public opinion," was a comment in the July 21-22 report.


HRP has written to the UN special envoys for Torture, Human Rights Defenders and the UN Office for Human Rights with concerns about the "use of harmful practices based on fear to manage behaviour".

The Sydney Morning Herald

September 4, 2014 - 6:48AM


Sarah Whyte and Michael Gordon


Hamid Khazaei, 24, was medically evaculated to the mainland last week. Photo: Supplied


The former director of mental health services at Manus Island has called for an independent investigation into the brain death of an asylum seeker who remains on life support in Brisbane.


Peter Young from International Health and Mental Services (IHMS) said he was not aware of the circumstances in this case but logistical and bureaucratic delays in providing care were "part and parcel" of holding people in such remote locations.


Dr Young said he did not consider the chief medical officer of the department, Paul Douglas, to be independent as Mr Douglas had previously accused health service providers of being risk-averse.


The 24-year-old man, Hamid Kehazaei, was evacuated to the mainland last Thursday and was pronounced brain dead on Wednesday night at Brisbane's Mater Hospital, refugee advocates said.


Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said Mr Kehazaei's family were in the process of deciding whether to turn off the life-support machines.


She said there was a delay in transferring the man from Manus Island to the Australian mainland because a request from the medical service provider, IHMS, was denied.


"After being denied a timely transfer, this young man is now lying brain dead in a Brisbane hospital," Senator Hanson-Young said.


"This young man cut his foot, it got infected and he wasn't given the right medical help and it has developed into this severe septicaemia.


"This is a disgraceful lack of care given to this young Iranian man and a lack of duty of care being given by the Immigration Department."


Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul claimed the compound on Manus Island where the man had cut his foot had been evacuated.


A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said: "This is simply not true."


The spokeswoman did not comment on the allegations of a delay, instead saying: "The government has consistently focused on the care of this young man and his family, as well as respecting their privacy.


"These are our primary concerns. It is disappointing that the Greens have sought to politicise this very sensitive and serious matter in this way."


On Wednesday morning, Mr Morrison confirmed the man had not died.


"In respect to the family of the individual, further details are not able to be provided," he said.


"The government is following normal processes for the adult male transferee. The family has been engaged."


Last Friday, as the man was reportedly fighting for his life, the department said its chief medical officer was reviewing the background to the transferee's condition and medical care while at the Manus detention centre.


The standard of care provided by IHMS was called into question last month during the Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into children in detention, where evidence given to the inquiry showed the levels of medical care in immigration detention were often below Australian standards.


In May, a former Salvation Army staff member on Manus Island, Simon Taylor, claimed IHMS was giving asylum seekers a type of anti-malaria medication that detention centre staff had been warned not to take.

The former chief of defence, Admiral Chris Barrie, today launched a book called Refugees: Why seeking asylum is legal and Australia's policies are not.


One of its authors is Professor Jane McAdam, director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the UNSW.


I asked her why the book argued that Australia's polices were illegal.


JANE MCADAM: Well the reason is that a number of our policies, for example, mandatory detention, certain aspects of temporary protection, the conditions of detention, push backs and so on, are not consistent with Australia's obligations under international law.


MARK COLVIN: What about Australian law?


JANE MCADAM: Well as the book explains, what we are seeking to do is situate Australia's policies in light of our international legal obligations. There are certainly questions as to whether certain policies, and of course there are many, are consistent with Australia law as well.


But our argument is that even some of our legislation is at odds with the obligations we voluntarily signed up to under international law. And those obligations are not only things that we owe to individuals, but they are also contractual obligations, if you like, that we've contracted into with other countries.


So when we don't live up to those obligations, we're actually breaking promises to the rest of the international community.


MARK COLVIN: Is there anything the international community can do about it?


JANE MCADAM: That's a question I'm often asked and my favourite response comes from a famous British barrister who, when asked is international law real, said well the million dollars governments pay me each year to defend their rights under international law suggests they think it is.


And I think that even though in the refugee space we don't have a refugee court per se, there are certainly mechanisms by which Australia can be called to account, and indeed has been.


MARK COLVIN: But as I'm sure you know, there are lots of people in Australia who say, damn the rest of the world, we should have our own policy.


JANE MCADAM: Unfortunately for people who think that way that's not the way international law works. And as I mentioned before and as we explain in the book, international law isn't something imposed on Australia from the outside, but it's something that Australia has voluntarily accepted.


More at 

New Matilda

4 Sep 2014

'Woeful' Conditions On Manus Will Likely See Death Toll Rise, Warns Doctor

By Max Chalmers


Anger is growing around the nation and multiple protests are planned for this evening, over the impending death of another asylum seeker on Manus Island. Max Chalmers reports.


Health experts have warned that more deaths in offshore detention centres are likely and called for the government to reinstate an independent immigration health advisory group, as asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei remains on life-support in a Brisbane hospital after being declared brain dead.


Dr Richard Kidd, a Queensland representative for the Australian Medical Association and co-founder of Doctors for Refugees, told New Matilda the conditions on Manus Island were "woeful", and that the Kehazaei incident needed an independent investigation.


"I really do expect that we're going to see other very serious bad health outcomes and probably more deaths, and I think this is a terribly shameful thing for Australia," Dr Kidd said.


"This is why the AMA for quite a long time now has been strongly advocating for an independent medical authority to oversee the provision of healthcare services to asylum seekers and



Sanitation and health problems in the Manus complex have long been flagged by asylum seekers detained on the island.


Victoria Martin, who has been in regular contact with a group of asylum seekers held on Manus over the past two years, said the centre's insufficient facilities forced detainees to walk through sewerage, often barefoot.


"There are nowhere near enough ablution blocks or toilets, and in fact we get repeated complaints about the water supply not working at all," she said.


"More at

The Canberra Times

September 4, 2014 - 4:55PM


Cameron Atfield

Asylum seeker brain death 'utterly tragic and criminal'


The brain death of Hamid Khazaei is "a huge stain on Australia" says Greens Senator Larissa Waters.


An Iranian asylum seeker who has been declared brain dead in Brisbane will help save lives in the country he never reached after a family decision to donate his organs, according to refugee advocates.


Hamid Kehazaei, 24, was on life-support in Brisbane's Mater Hospital as about 40 supporters held a lunchtime vigil outside on Thursday.


Mark Gillespie from the Refugee Action Collective said Mr Kehazaei's family, who were not in Australia, had given the go-ahead for his organs to be donated once his life-support had been switched off.


"It's extremely distressing just trying to understand what has happened, although they recognise Hamid's life is terminal," he said.


"They have very generously said they're willing to give permission to donate Hamid's organs if they can be of any use to anybody else."


Fairfax Media has attempted to verify the claim with the Mater Hospital, but Sydney-based RAC spokesman Ian Rintoul said he had spoken directly with Mr Kehazaei's family, who had told him of its decision.


A spokesman for Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said her office also had it on good authority through Mr Kehazaei's legal guardian that the Iranian's organs would be donated.


Senator Hanson-Young said Mr Kehazaei should not have been placed in harm's way.


"Despite this tragedy, Hamid's family want to donate his organs to people in Australia," she said.


"This one act of kindness will hopefully help many Australians to lead a better life."



More at

Deal signed for significant Manus Island detention centre upgrade

    The Australian
    September 08, 2014 12:00AM

Paige Taylor
WA Bureau Chief

Deal signed for Manus upgrade

An Artist's impression of planned accomodation facilities at Manus Island Detention Centre.
Source: Supplied

THE Coalition has entered a newly altered contract for significant expansions and upgrades at the Manus Island detention centre, now notorious over two asylum-seeker deaths.

The Abbott government has almost doubled the value and increased the scope of its Manus Island contract with West Australian construction firm Decmil, from $137 million to $253m, an announcement to the ASX shows.

The death of Iranian asylum-seeker Hamid Kehazaei last week intensified calls from refugee advocates and the Greens for the centre to be abandoned, and Fairfax Media reported last week that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was to wind it down.

But the expanded contract, revealed to the ASX on August 23, indicates an ongoing commitment to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea as an offshore processing centre. "The centre is not winding down," a spokesman for Mr Morrison told The Australian yesterday.

Decmil says its newly altered contract includes "additional operational facilities such as warehousing and storage, upgrade and repairs to roads, repairs to the existing water and sewerage treatment plants, improvements to public roads, and the inclusion of surgery capability in the medical facility".

Decmil is known for building accommodation amenities for fly-in, fly-out workers employed by Western Australia's resources sector.

There were growing criticisms of the Manus Island detention centre before Iranian asylum-seeker Reza Berati was killed there during a riot in February.

A Senate inquiry in June aired serious claims about safety and security.

Medical responses, amenities and hygiene at the centre have been the focus of much of the criticism since the family of Mr Kehazaei took the harrowing decision to turn off his life support in Brisbane on Friday.

He was declared brain dead about a fortnight after cutting his foot at the Manus Island centre.
Refugee advocates allege the filthy state of the facility, and a slow response from medical contractor IHMS, contributed directly to his death.

Yesterday Uniting Justice Australia national director Elenie Poulos said she was disappointed the government intended to expand rather than close the centre.

Reverend Poulos said if the government continued using Manus as a detention centre it was vital facilities were upgraded but this did not address the level of services or instability outside the centre.

Manus Island camp holds 87 people awaiting specialist medical treatment in Australia or PNG


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