Elderly Man with Cancer transferred from Nauru to Australia

June 29, 2018

 

 

 

Update : As of 15th November, Ali* remains in detention at Brisbane Immigration 'Transit' Accommodation.He has been held there for over 3 months.He still has not been allowed to visit the shia mosque.

 

 

In the months since Ali* arrived in Queensland, ABF are still making it very hard for Community Members to visit him.This is outrageous; a terminally ill man granted refugee status kept in virtual isolation.This is not what was demanded by the thousands of Australians and his friends on Nauru.And it is not what Ali * wanted of course.

 

A dying Afghan refugee with cancer,held on Nauru for five years , was flown to Brisbane for hospital medical care in June 2018 .

Border Force dare not hospitalise him in Brisbane. After attempting to send Baby Asha , from a Brisbane Hospital back to Nauru in 2016,Dutton was trying to keep the refugee hidden from the public eye on The Gold Coast .The transfer followed a sustained campaign of pressure from doctors, medical peak bodies, the media, members of the public and even members of the Australian Border Force.

 

Ali *, a 63-year-old Afghan Hazara refugee and father of six, has advanced lung cancer. Previously, the Australian Border Force (ABF) and Department of Home Affairs had been adamant he would not be moved to Australia under any circumstances.The Guardian first publicly revealed Ali’s case in May, after doctors and members of the Afghan Hazara community on Nauru pleaded with the ABF for him to be moved.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone, said Ali needed to come to Australia because "There is no Hazara community in Taiwan, he has no friends or family there, no-one to translate from his language,and no one to perform the Shia Muslim rituals after his death."

 

For several weeks, Ali’s treatment was the subject of fierce debate within The ABF and Home Affairs Department. Sources told the Guardian several ABF officials argued strongly for Ali to be brought to Australia, saying the country was failing a “fundamental legal and moral duty of care” by leaving him on Nauru, and that to move a dying man to a place that could properly care for him at the end of his life caused no substantial damage to Australia’s resolute offshoring policy.

 

High-profile or politically sensitive medical cases are decided not by the ABF but by executive-level officials of the Department of Home Affairs; in some cases as high as the secretary of the department or the minister for home affairs. ABF recommendations from Nauru are often overruled at the executive level inside the department.

 

Nearly 24,000 people signed a change.org petition calling for Ali to be immediately brought to Australia. And an online open letter started by the Sydney GP Sara Townend garnered more than 2,000 signatures from doctors across the country, including former heads of the AMA, and those who had worked on Nauru. The letter said Ali’s current situation was “no way to die”.

Dr Townend told Guardian Australia “I work with adults who are dying, and with children who are dying. Even here in Australia with excellent palliative care available,a good death is challenging to achieve. I could not bear to think of this man dying alone in a room without family or community or appropriate medical expertise. I could not believe this was a deliberate act of exclusion by my government.”

 

Friends on Nauru said that the condition of Ali – who had previously worked in construction while being held on the island – deteriorated badly in recent weeks. He was finding it increasingly difficult to speak, had lost most of the use of his right arm, and could no longer dress himself.

 

*Ali is a patronym; his full name is withheld to protect his family

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