a href=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/5935/383/1600/andrewb-rhematisfamily-june05.jpg”> The slow movement of refugees off Nauru and into Australia continues. The Rehmatis, who were the final refugee family left on Nauru, arrived in Australia yesterday. I have written about them previously, including in this piece. They came into Brisbane in the evening and I was able to meet up with them and welcome them to Australia. They stayed the night in a motel near Brisbane airport and flew on to Canberra today.
After more than three and a half years on island detention centres, they were still adjusting to what was happening. However, the difference in their demeanour from when I last saw them on Nauru last month was enormous. People often used the expressions like ‘weighed down with suffering’, and they did look like they had a weight lifted off their shoulders – especially the two teenagers. However, it should not be forgotten that this family still has the uncertainty of being on temporary visas, which will continue to weigh on them.
There are still 32 asylum seekers remaining on Nauru, plus two who were transferred to detention in Melbourne for health reasons some months ago. These are all individual men, as all the couples and families have now finally left. These people are still traumatised and suffering and the pressure must continue to be applied to the federal Immigration Minister until they are all free.
Above is a photo of me with most of the family in their Brisbane motel room, and you can click here to read a report by AAP (from The Age website) of the family’s arrival in Canberra.