Another ‘Nauruan’ refugee family arrives in Australia

a href=””> 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.

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  1. It’s a wonderful thing that the Rehmati family have finally left Nauru. It’s also great that the media is giving them some airtime, but I’m not impressed with the Age’s sentimentalising of their situation. In particular, I’m incensed by the ridiculous and harmful implication that the 32 men remaining on Nauru are drunken and dangerous yobbos. I’m also very disappointed that the article failed to address the ongoing outrage that there are still 32 human beings left in the camp.
    Like you, Andrew, I’ve met the men who remain in the camp on Nauru, and I am amazed by their gentleness and generosity of spirit. If I had fled persecution only to be locked in limbo for years, I’m fairly sure I’d become a mean, psychotic bitch. In contrast, these men are warm and welcoming, and taking every opportunity to fill their time constructively: using every bit of the little power they have over their present situation to give themselves a viable future. Their potential contribution to our community is immense.
    But even if they had succumbed to the traumas of their situation, and were utterly broken, they would still not deserve to be left to rot in the limbo of our “Offshore Processing” system. The 32 individuals left in the camp on Nauru are just as deserving of our compassion as those who have already left. Their suffering is every bit as painful – and every bit as wicked and unnecessary.
    Many of these men have left their families behind. Many others were children when they fled. Every single one of them suffers intolerable turmoil – and it shows. It would be a great shame if these men were to be forgotten, now that the women and children have left the camp.

  2. Andrew for every man, woman and child stuck out there and those who have been brought here over the past couple of years the stupid Australian public has paid about $2 million.
    Each time I think of that I see the 20000 children dying in Africa every day for want of a $1.
    What on earth has this mess proved? That we can be the cruelest bastards on earth to poor refugees?

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