Wall of Grief and Remembering

Reza, a 26 year old asylum seeker form Iran, hanged himself in Brisbane yesterday. These lines are taken from the account of his close friend who had vainly attempted to alert the police to Reza’s desperate plight.

He was scared to stay here.
He was scared and thinking that people would get him if he stay here.
He thought that he must escape from this area as police and people were chasing him.
He got to Brisbane and he stayed in the street until morning.
7am he called me and said:
“I am tired. Always police and people follow me.
I want to kill myself.
Tell my family”

“Immigration have said that Reza’s family must pay for the return of his body.”


Painting by Iqbal
Painting by Iqbal

RAPBS is building a wall of grief and remembering in which we mark the many, many lost lives of those caught in the lethal toils of our refugee policy. Some of their names are Khodayar Amini, Leo Seemanpillai, Habib Wahedy,  Shannaz Kayani. And so many more.

Our lethal refugee policy does not only operate through the black sites of offshore detention, but through other lines of demarcation, through technologies of isolation, abandonment and exclusion, such as the TPV. And  it operates through compromised systems of ‘care’ which compound rather than alleviate suffering.

These are the casualties of Australia’s war on refugees. But their stories are not forgotten. Their names and faces remain in our minds; the traces of their lost and broken bodies hover in the air. We taste them as grit and ashes in our mouths.

Flyer for Nazanin

RAPBS has heard that Nazanin, the 23 year-old raped on Nauru, will be moved to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre on Monday. Usually this is the preparation for removal.

Abyan, pregnant as a result of rape, was returned to Nauru last week. She remains in an utterly precarious situation.

Arezo, sexually assaulted while under medical care, was returned in June.

Arezo. Abyan. And many others. We cannot let Nazanin be next.

Download the Flyer. Share with you friends and colleagues.

Image by Farhad Bandash, Manus Detainee

Press Release 23 October 2015


Psychiatrist says:

’To Return Nazanin to Nauru is like putting band aids on victims of domestic violence’

MEDIA RELEASE: 23rd October 2015

RAPBS is concerned to hear that Nazanin is to be moved from the Brisbane hospital she has been in since August, to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA). We understand this to be the first step in IHMS and DIBP’s plan to return Nazanin to the place of her assault, Nauru.

The news of Nazanin’s imminent move to BITA has come on top of yesterday’s raid of Save The Children offices and search of their personnel after after Wednesday’s ABC Lateline report detailing the plight of Nazanin and her family.

Trauma specialist and psychiatrist Dr Helen Driscoll says: ‘One of the profound imperatives in trauma care is to not send the victim back into the place from whence they have come without substantial change. To return Nazanin to Nauru is like putting band aids on victims of domestic violence, then taking them back under escort to the abusive house and keeping them there!’

Doctors at the RCH and other hospitals have taken a stand against returning children to detention.

As Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year, states in our Open Letter To PM Turnbull: ‘Those of us who care about violence against women, children and other vulnerable people at home need to care about what happens to these same people elsewhere who are under our care. The Australian government funds the offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. The centres are, by their very design, unsafe and dangerous places.

These centres cannot be patched up. They must be shut down. The people forcibly held there are those who sought protection in this country. They deserve care, not punishment. Out of sight is not out of mind!’

RAPBS calls on doctors and health professionals to join with the doctors of RCH and extend their ban to encompass the return of all patients to the centres, especially those who have been raped, sexually assaulted or victimised within Australia’s detention system on-shore and off-shore.

RAPBS calls on the Minister for Immigration to attend to the care of Nazanin and her family and urges urging in the strongest possible terms that the Minister heed Melissa Parkes MP, and ‘consider reuniting Nazanin with her mother and brother through appropriate humanitarian resettlement in Australia’.

RAPBS also calls for independent assessment of victims of physical, psychological and sexual abuse because, as Dr Driscoll states, ‘there is imperative need for independent clinical assessment for advocacy because the doctors in the hospitals cannot attend to the aetiology of the patients condition’.

RAPBS media contacts: Dr Helen Driscoll 0403 364 486; Professor Suvendrini Perera 0409 747 200.


Press Release 22 October 2015



22 October 2015

RAPBS is very concerned to hear that the Nauru offices of Save the Children and Transfield were raided this morning following yesterday’s ABC Lateline report.

We call on the Minister for Immigration and the Oppositon to ensure the safety of Nazanin’s mother and brother who also spoke on the program and who remain incarcerated on Nauru.

In his correspondence with concerned MPs who raised the plight of Nazanin’s family with him, Minister Dutton stated that it was departmental policy for patients brought to Australia for treatment to be accompanied by members of their nuclear families. Despite being assured at the time of Nazanin’s departure that her mother and brother would follow, they still remain on Nauru. Why has the family not been airlifted to Australia in order to join their sister/daughter in Brisbane?

ABC reports that ‘Computers and other internet-connected devices were seized by local authorities this morning.’ Were any Australian police involved in the raid?

Is the seizing of these devices yet another instance of attempts by the Australian and/or Nauru governments to censor the flow of information from these detention black sites – precisely in light of the growing evidence of sexual assaults, mismanagement and breach of policy protocols?

How are the workers in the camps expected to conduct their frontline role if their communication devices have been siezed? Surely this will impact on the quality of services the workers can deliver to the detainees who are under their duty of care?

Media Contacts: 0409 747 200 Janet Galbraith: 0418 399 646 Dr Helen Driscoll:0403 364 486


RAPBS is very concerned to hear that the Nauru office of Save the Children was raided this morning following yesterday’s Lateline report. We call on the Minister for Immigration and the Opposition to ensure the safety of Nazanin’s mother and brother who also spoke on the program and who remain incarcerated on Nauru.

For their safety we request their immediate airlifting to Australia in accordance with DIBP’s stated policy of having immediate family members accompany patients airlifted to Australia.

Open Letter to the Senators and Government of Australia

8th October 2015 (by Asylum Seekers detained on Nauru)

Mourning and weeping from Hell

These words are coming from hell. There are many broken hearts screaming with headache because we have been kept here for such a long time with nothing except failing lives.

Our stories might not be interesting to you. If you spend lots of time doing nothing please listen to our voices and try to feel what these voices and what this letter tells you.

It is not magnificent. It is pain. Yes, extreme pain. This pain makes tears for all and everyone’s tears have made this letter for this beautiful nation.

Yes our dreams are failing , we are failing with out hopes and we are failing with our future too.

Our lives set on fire by inhuman politics. That fire burns us little by little every single second.

Those who can feel our bodies and souls burning with our dreams, you are the real Australians and great humans.

We can’t imagine why humanity is disappearing from this nation. Waiting and waiting, just a little bit of hope in everyones deep hearts that the disappearing humanity will return back to everyone. Then we will see that humanity will feel our pain and extreme grief and share our feelings. Let’s see… we are waiting.

We have kids yet we can’t think about our future. We can’t do anything for them, even their smallest wish. Our kids are dying slowly infront of us. We can see it with our own eyes. Every second our hearts are crying so badly about our kid’s future. Where are they going to go? What are they going to do? All these questions aare killing us. You also have kids. You have made plans for when they growing up but what can we do? Just one thing … dying slowly day by day.

Please give us your hand to get us out of this deep dark hell.

We are so broken. Our souls are crying silent every night. Only our pillow and our bed knows. We can’t share our pain with each other here because everyone is in same boat. We are travelling into the darkness with extreme pain. We can’t smile, we can’t be happy. These things are all gone. Our minds are melting away from us. Now our heads are empty, our lives too.

Oh our nations many of our mothers and fathers have children and babies. They are all happy with their freedom and they trust with their lives. We are wasting our lives inside the fence. Our joy and freedom is locked up in this hell. Still we can’t start our lives.

We are asylum seekers. Sorry but we have forgotten our names because now we are just called by our boat numbers. We have been in detention for years in this hell you call offshore-processing centre. We cannot describe our suffering. We are tired of being tired. We are dying every single second because of your inhumane treatment. Our presence is burning here.

When we came here we became victims of your offshore policy sent to offshore and kept with about 2000 people. By the end of 2012 almost 2700 asylum seekers reached your country by boat. Where are they now? You know well some are unlucky and innocent and are still kept in the hell of offshore processing centre.

All the time we are sorry about our life inside the fence on this dry land. We are coping with time emptiness day by day. You make life hard every second and cause us pain too.

We are wondering why our lives were saved from the ocean. If we died in the sea it would have been wonderful because we can’t cope with your inhuman actions. You took our joy, hope and dreams and locked us inside the fence.

We can’t breath[e] freely.

844 people from Manus and Nauru signed this letter. Because of this fear first we just sent to Sarah Hanson-Young. Now we sent to everyone.

My Soul Notifies You

My soul once provided
Only tranquility
And it would not make my body impatient.
Now my soul’s tenderness for my body
Has been forgotten.
My body is in tatters.
My soul follows
To notify you:
“I am talking about Freedom!
You throw me into the corners of your dark
You put me into the very depths of exile.
The delicacy of my soul and body is no more
In this endless shadow.
If this continues any longer
I will not see anymore light
And my soul will be forever

– Farhad Bandesh,
Manus Island, 27 months

My Fear

Being without you is not my fear.
Nor is it from the grief of being alone in a prison’s embrace.
How long must I look at the calendar of life
Through the burning red of my eyes?
Where shall I sit in tis prison you made for me
Out of hard metal?
What price should be returned to me for the price of myself;
For the loss of my youth? For my banished life?
Oh Freedom! How I longed to sit in the corner of your heart!
How I laugh at you whilst you cry at my condition.
I am entirely spent yet have so much more to say.
Oh my god! How could life have become so sorrowful
That I almost drowned in the pool at the bottom of my endless tears?
Yet to sit now, in mourning, in my cage, is sweet
Yearning for that precious lost time.

My fear is not coming from my loss of you now
Nor from the grief of being all alone
Within the possibility of being destroyed.
Because breathing simply the scent of the freedom to weep is good.
It’s tick-rock is pleasing; gives colour to my life
Separating me from your yearning,
Suspended in the sky.
It is is restful on this full-bodied Freedom Mountain!

– Farhad Bandesh,
Manus Island, 27 months