Melbourne, February 15: A 36 year-old Tamil refugee, who was the victim of an alleged deliberate hit and run attack, was transferred by air ambulance to Australia late on Friday, 12 February.
The incident which caused serious injuries – reportedly fractures to the back, shoulder, leg, hand and hip of the refugee, happened in Nauru last Tuesday night, February 9.
The refugee was transported from Nauru to Sydney, arriving in the early hours of Saturday morning, February 13.
It is alleged that two of the attackers were local Nauruan workers in one of the refugee camps, and knew the man from the camp.
After the car knocked the Tamil refugee from his motorbike and ran over him, the car was reversed to run over him once again. He was then physically attacked on the ground, before his alleged assailants stole his motorbike and fled the scene.
“The shocking attack has caused a wave of fear among the refugees and asylum seekers who remain on the island,” said Ian Rintoul.
“It has been a graphic reminder of how vulnerable refugees are to such violence on Nauru.
“This attempted murder is the most brutal attack for some time, but assaults, muggings, and robberies are part of the daily life of refugees and asylum seekers being held on Nauru.
“It time the government ended offshore detention and provided them with permanent protection in Australia.”
There are about 127 refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, held by the Australian government “at a reported cost of $10,000 a day, and a greater cost on their lives and future”, according to Ian Rintoul of Refugee Action Coalition Sydney.
Manus Island and Nauru first became the locations for Australia’s offshore immigration detention centres in 2001, when former Prime Minister John Howard launched the “Pacific Solution”.
Labor reopened them in 2012 as part of a plan to prevent any asylum seeker arriving by boat from gaining resettlement in Australia. Liz Thompson, a former migration agent involved in refugee-assessment interviews on Manus, described the process on SBS’s Dateline as a “farce”.
She said: “Manus Island is an experiment in the ultimate logic of deterrence, designed to frustrate the hell out of people and terrify them so that they go home.”