Eight years after neglect killed Faysal, Labor continues the abuse of PNG refugees

Faysal Ishak Ahmed, a 27-year-old Sudanese refugee, died in a Brisbane hospital on 24 December 2016, after his emergency evacuation from Manus Island and suffering months of medical neglect there. 

A press conference and vigil will be held at the Brisbane Coroner’s court, 9am, Monday 18th March, Magistrates Court of Queensland, 363 George Street, Brisbane

Faysal should never have been sent to PNG. With proper medical treatment he would still be alive, but the Australian government, Broadspectrum, and medical services provider, IHMS, were notorious for their medical neglect. An Iranian refugee, Hamid Kahzaie, had also died from lack of treatment to a leg infection just two years before Faysal’s death.  

One Sudanese refugee, Walid, said from Manus at the time, “Faysal became unconscious and collapsed over and over again but every time he visited the medical centre the doctor would tell him he was fine.”

Confronted by refugee supporters protesting Faysal’s death in 2016, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters that Australia had an agreement with the US to resettle refugees from PNG to the United States. 

Eight years later, 52 refugees are still in PNG, and the mistreatment, neglect and human rights abuse continues. The Albanese Labor government has maintained a corrupt agreement between the Morrison government and the PNG government to keep the refugees in PNG. 

But since October 2023, basic support services for the refugees –  food, income allowance, medical assistance, transport, electricity – have been cut, leaving the refugees in desperate circumstances.  

Although the Albanese government brought the refugees from Nauru when they took office, the government has refused to restore funding or to bring the refugees in PNG to Australia. 

“Labor must bring the remaining refugees to Australia,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Some of them are now too mentally unwell to look after themselves. Others have been waiting years for a US resettlement that has never happened. It’s well past time that Labor ended the distress, and torture offshore detention has inflicted on the refugees.” 

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

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