Press Release October 4 2015



4th October 2015

PDF //Press Release 04/10/2015

This afternoon, Farrah*, an Iranian woman in detention on Nauru attempted suicide by hanging. Farrah is the mother of Nazanin and Omid whose stories have already been covered in the Australian media. Nazanin, is a gravely ill 23 year old receiving treatment for kidney failure in a main- land hospital following her rape and subsequent suicide attempts. Omid is her 20 year-old brother whose cruel and degrading treatment at the hands of camp guards and Nauru police has attracted UN attention.

Farah was no longer able to bear the acute suffering and separation the family has been forced to endure.

At the same time RAPBS has grave fears for Omid who is in a state of deep despair and whose mental health has markedly deteriorated in the last day. He told a friend: ‘I am watching my mother die as I was watching my sister die. Now we are separated. I want to close my eyes and never wake’.

A close guard has been set since on Farrah and Omid making it impossible for them to communicate with each other or with friends.

Dr Helen Driscoll, trauma specialist and consultant adolescent psychiatrist in Juvenile Justice who is familiar with the case notes ‘The fact [is]that Nazanin and each family member is utterly crushed and the only option to ease intolerable suffering is suicide from total despair’ (full statement attached).

She adds that this is an ‘entirely predictable’ state of affairs’ in light of the approach adopted by the IHMS in dealing with the case of Nazanin and her family: ‘IHMS refers to the problem of ‘avoidance’ developing if people are moved from the site of their trauma! The fallout for this family is tragically entirely predicable and I hold IHMS and the DIBP totally responsible for their continued suffering and their pending demise’.

In an Open Letter calling for the shutdown of the offshore detention centres, Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year states, ‘The people forcibly held there are those who sought protection in this country. They deserve care, not punishment’.

The conditions on Nauru are punitive, dangerous and destructive of the refugees’ very will to live.

Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites calls for the family of Nazanin to be brought to Australia immediately for their safety and protection, a promise made to them when their Nazanin was airlifted to Australia several weeks ago.

* Farrah – not real name

Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites
Media Contacts:
Professor Suvendrini Perera: 0409 747 200 Janet Galbraith: 0418 399 646 Dr Helen Driscoll: 0403 364 486

Open Letter – Thank-you

The open letter to the PM has now closed.

We thank each of the 1272 individuals and organisations who participated in this campaign. Your support has meant a great deal to the people subjected to the routinised and systematic violence in Australia’s Pacific Black Sites.

RAPBS sent the letter to the Prime Minister and other key parliamentarians on October 2, 2015. You can view the PDF Version here. We have been very encouraged by the media coverage of our letter, and by the fact that a number of other open letters and media reports have followed in the days after we began our Out of Sight NOT Out of Mind campaign. We’re just getting started! Watch this site and our Facebook page for further updates.

We encourage those of you who were not able to sign the letter to contact your local MP as as well as the Prime Minister and Immigration Minister direct.

Thank you again for standing against the inhumane, cruel and degrading policy of offshore detention.

Link to the open letter

Press Release October 1 2015



1st October 2015

PDF // Press Release 01/10/2015

Violence against women organisations join refugee advocates in call for detention centres closedown

Significant Australian violence prevention organisations have called on the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to shut down Australia’s Manus Island and Nauru detention centres.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Turnbull, the Out of Sight NOT Out of Mind campaign initiated by Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites points to the ‘systemic and structural nature of the conditions that generate violence against women, children, gay men and families’ in offshore detention as ‘the outcome of Australian’s policy of ‘deterrence.’

The letter has been signed by over a thousand organisations and individuals, including the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance, Victorian Forum of Centres Against Sexual Assault, the Luke Batty Foundation, state and national peak bodies for community legal centres, ACOSS, Immigrant Women Speakout and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria.

The letter states:

‘Feminists, women’s groups and others working against violence against women, children and LGBTIQ peoples all too often work in isolation from refugees and their supporters. We want this separation to end.’

Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty is also quoted in the letter: ‘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 united stand by some of Australia’s most respected social organisations is an indication of the growing public revulsion at the violence and trauma to asylum seekers reported on Nauru and PNG.

Professor Suvendrini Perera for Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites said: ‘Recent events show that the line between “deterrence” and the systemic infliction of violence and trauma on detained people is thoroughly blurred. Our government has recently condemned violence against women domestically, but if is truly committed, it should act to the end the same kinds of violence being perpetrated in Australia’s name abroad.’

Contacts: RAPBS Spokeswomen: Professor Suvendrini Perera, Curtin University: 0409 747 200 & Janet Galbraith 0418 399 646;
Senior Policy Advisor Federation of Community Legal Centres Dr Chris Atmore: 0425 796 434
Trauma Specialist : Dr Helen Driscoll MBBS FRANZC c/ RAPBS 0418 399 646