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Asylum seekers riot on Manus Island after refugee death: police
SBS News - December 25, 2016
Senior Sergeant Thomas Lelepo, from Lorengau Police Station on Manus Island, said guards at the Manus Island regional processing centre were expelled by residents last night.
"There was a situation there... over the death of a resident," he told Reuters by phone, adding that order had been restored.
A 27-year-old Sudanese man, who was identified as Faysal Ishak Ahmed by refugee advocates, collapsed at the centre and was evacuated to hospital in Australia this week. Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection said he died on Saturday.
The man's death is not being treated as suspicious by Australian authorities, but detainees and refugee rights groups have claimed the man was seriously ill for months and had made repeated requests for medical assistance before the emergency.
Under Australia's tough border security policy, asylum seekers intercepted trying to reach the country by boat are sent for processing at the camps on Papua New Guinea's Manus island and Nauru in the South Pacific. They are never eligible for resettlement in Australia.
An Australian immigration department spokesperson confirmed an incident on Manus Island overnight.
"The Department is aware of a disturbance involving a group of residents in the mess area of Manus RPC," the spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday. "The disturbance has now been resolved. There is minor property damage and no reported injuries."
A Sudanese asylum seeker on Manus Island has expressed his 'devastation' after the PNG Supreme Court dismissed an application lodged by detainees to be sent to Australia.
Photos posted to Facebook by Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani, who is among the asylum seekers held on Manus Island, showed what appeared to be damage to a mess area inside one of the compounds.
Mr. Boochani wrote: "We just kicked out the Wilson security from Delta and Oscar detentions. This message is for the government."
The United Nations and human rights groups have condemned Australia's immigration policy, citing human rights abuses in the centres on Manus Island and Nauru and prison-like conditions that have driven some detainees to attempt suicide.
A total of 872 asylum seekers are held on Manus despite Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court ruling in April that their detention was illegal and ordering the camps to close.
Advocates call for royal commission
Refugee advocates call for royal commission into medical care at Australia's offshore detention centres following the death of an asylum seeker.
"It appears that Faysal did not receive appropriate treatment for his condition and we now have another death that was likely to have been entirely avoidable," National Justice Project principal solicitor George Newhouse said on Sunday.
Behrouz Boochani said in a statement from Manus Island released by the Refugee Action Coalition: "Every day Faysal went to medical asking for help. They did not help him,"
"A few days ago a nurse... told Faysal that he was fine and didn't need medical treatment."
Faysal, who fled Sudan in 2013 and tried to come to Australia by boat, had complained of heart problems and headaches, according to the statement attributed to Mr Boochani.
The Department of Immigration said the man had died from injuries suffered after a fall and suffering a seizure.
"The department is not aware of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and expresses its sympathies to his family and friends," it said in a statement.
The not-for-profit human rights law centre National Justice Project wants a "prompt" inquest into the death.
It's also called on the federal government to set up a royal commission into the provision of medical care on Manus Island and Australia's other detention centre on Nauru.
"The Minister for Immigration (Peter Dutton) is on record complaining of a War on Christmas," Mr Newhouse said. "Where is this government's spirit of charity and love for the most desperate and vulnerable people in the world at this time?"
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said Faysal had been suffering seizures "for weeks without treatment". "We do not yet know the precise case of Faysal's death – whether it is the head injuries he suffered or his underlying medical condition," he said.
An inquest is already underway in Queensland into the death of refugee Hamid Khazaei, 24, who died of a leg infection after being transferred from Manus Island to Brisbane.