At the beginning we would like to thank Amnesty International for taking the lead in allowing us, and freely, to express our main sorrow and pain. This pain which rendered us to leave our homeland to cross thousands of metres and into paying thousands of dollars.
Following, all what had happened with us, in such report of which you will read:
First: General remarks about the Indonesian boat Achina.
Second: Headlines about what had happened in the Manoora.
Third: Remarks about our current condition in the camp.
First: General Remarks about the Achina
- In seeking better future and in saving our families from the pain and getting them into the freedom with no differences in wherever, we went on the boat Achina which took off in the sunrise of Friday, 31st of August 2001, 5.00 am. The Achina is a small ship for 50 passengers; we were 230 persons on board.
- There was food, water and fuel supply enough for 10 days as the trip was supposed to take duration of five days.
- The boat entered in to the Australian territorial water on September 7th
- Some military men on a boat which belongs to the Manoora stopped us, prevented the Achina to further on its way, they used a whistle. We stopped from the noon and waited until the next day in the mid of the high storms which were hitting our boat. The people in the military boat promised to provide us with food supply and then to load us to one of the Australian areas. They gave us some medicine, water and sheets and 25KOM uncooked rice.
Second: what happened in the Manoora
On the sunrise of Saturday September 10th 2001, the ship Manoora came by and many Australian military people went into our boat. They arranged for us to move to the Manoora through slightly using the force. They had two of us and got us transferred after being searched. They searched all men and women on board and even children, searched the bags. Then they gave us numbers 500 and we did not know on what basis we were given these numbers. 20 days later, we saw the Australian flag on the boat, and knew that asylums from Afghanistan are present on board, we were followed then. The Australian at the beginning told us that the boat is heading to Darwin, then a small interrogation will take place on board. Furthermore, the Australian headed by their boss asked us consistently to that we were treated in a very kind way when we were taken from Achina to the Manoora. We slept in more like corridors, 15-16 metres length, and 6-7 metres width. There were 250 tiny beds, four floors, 14 persons had to sleep on the floor.
Food: food supply was not enough at all, bad quality, some of the food supplies were. They way they used to distribute food for us was very humiliating. Whenever someone mentions that he dropped his food and needs more, they never trust him.
They’re no care in the quality of food supplied and especially for those who are sick and need special food. They did not pay attention to the Manoora doctor advises to pay attention for the special, sick people.
Reduction of the fruits and bed, there was not enough of them originally.
Hot pepper was added to the food that nobody could tolerate it. Some people got infections and allergy in their lips because of that. Despite our begging for the Australian to lesson the amount of the pepper, none paid attention to that.
We were supplied by mineral water and as the amount decreased, they started to provide us with filtered water and it had a very strange color.
Health: almost everybody’s health conditions deteriorated and especially people with sickness as blood pressure and diabetic. No medicines were provided these people and especially when we had serious sick cases as heart and likewise. There were no regular follow-ups on health cases.
Some dangerous diseases started to spread as the Malaria, hepatitis and skin diseases. The skin diseases were spreading a lot that there used to be on day special for treating such cases.
Children got diarrhoa, which would, treating through drinking water, as the doctor mentioned.
When somebody has a health problem, the doctor would take very long time to show up and the security guards used to remain silent watching the person suffering of pain.
Children: we had on board around 10 kids under 2 years old, 35 kids between 2-10 years old and around 40 kids between 10-15 years old. They were not given the minimum of what they should have had very few got games which raised problems on boat and jealousy between kid.
Baby diapers: at the beginning, we were supplied by a sufficient number of baby diapers but as day passed the amount reduced as each baby had one only unless the mother of the baby goes to the person in charge, take out her baby old diaper, to show it is very dirty so she can get a second one.
Milk: babies and kids were not given milk unless parents beg them for some. Only three times the kid was allowed to have milk, not more than that. Having in mind that mothers were not able to feed their children at all.
We used to see the always on board but never given some for our kids.
We did not take notice that our clothes were taken to the island, we had no clothes and some of us used to remain with no cloth when he washes his own ones until they are dry.
The psychological aspect: we had lots of lies and fake promises and manipulation until the last minute when we were forced to come out through brutal and inhumane way. IOM and the Nauruan government had full notice that we were manipulated as well as they used to come to the ship from time to time. We were isolated from the world for the period of one month, we asked for a lawyer or a journalist in defend our rights but it was in vain. We had none to listen to us, just one phrase which we used to hear “you will find everything in Nauru”. They tried to ruin our image, to look like a, how would we be pirates if we were prisoners in this ship. How would we be pirates and we do not have weapons even, we have children, we wonder who are pirates when we were on board of a military boat “Manoora”.
Furthermore, they used with us inhumane means such as:
Disconnection of the air-condition and as such the down desk of the boat will turn in short time to be very hot to the extent that some people would faint. When we ask the people in charge, they would mention that the engine does not work … then the engine works suddenly.
There used to be a very bad smell coming through the air-condition.
There used to be flood of water in the rest rooms.
They used to take photos for negative situations only, an example when they used to have photos for the rest room while it was not clean. They used to take photos for people while they were sleeping, those who were covered, they used to take the cover and photocopy them. Page 6 missing.
In one of these days, and before having our breakfast, and following our consistent refusal to be disembarked from the Manoora, some Australians approached us and said that a film on Nauru island will be now demonstrated before you and that the captain will have a word with you all. Then, a film about the camp was shown to us and for the period of 50 seconds only and when the movie finished the captain told us “It is my boat and I decide who stays and who gets out”.
Disembarkation from the Manoora
- There was a big desire of the IOM (somebody called Mark), crew and the captain to get us out of the boat. They asked us several times, using good words to get us out of the boat, they mentioned many times that they would never use force and that the government of Nauru would never allow anybody to be on her land by force. We did not want to get in to the Nauru for more than one reason.
- We were caught in the Australian territorial water.
- We got on top of the Manoora on 8th of October 2001.
- We have never heard through any means (TV, Media … etc) that Australia would ban illegal immigrants to its land and would send them to Nauru.
- We were told by the Australians that we are on board of an Australian ship and that we were heading to Darwin.
- Lots of pressure was practiced against us, asking us to get in and mostly that “we would not stay in Nauru more than week-10days including the appeal stage.” We were told this way on daily basis.
- Then, a person from the IOM came and his name is RONY, most of us knew him from Indonesia, and following few trials, 13 people agreed to be disembarked and then more pressure was practiced.
- Then they asked us to choose six people as a delegation and they had theirs from the Australian government and we chose six including one woman. During the first session, the six people heard nothing but one phrase “get down to Nauru”. When our people ask questions no answers at all.
- It went out this way, then the Australian asked the asylums to divide them into groups, each of 25 persons thinking that the six people influenced the others to remain in the boat. When the first 25 persons declared their wish not to get down, the Australian were convinced that it is indeed the wish to the whole group and that the six people did not influence them at all.
- Following that, the six people went for the second session of discussion, this time they were taken to a different place than they used to meet usually. This time, the captain came with an Arabic Interpreter (a spy) and read the following paper for the six people: “you should understand what I say: you should leave the boat quickly”. And then suddenly, 30 soldiers walked in and each of the six persons were held by two soldiers and were taken by force to a small boat and then to the island. When these people reached to the island, they were not allowed to see the media, the people started to yell, to resist, no answers at all, such attitude by the government was not expected at all.
- Then they were taken by bus to the camp, they did a strike until the evening with no response, and Nauruans noticed this and even the media. This time a person from the UNHCR interfered in a brave way.
- Then the same Arabic interpreter came in and said that the captain needs another six people for delegation and the same thing happened in a more brutal way. The soldiers were ruthless and the following happened:
- Breaking of somebody right hand.
- Another person was beaten strongly at his breast, he was already sick.
- Another person was beaten and got very sick and had to be transferred to the hospital.
- There are certified medical reports for the a/m three cases.
- None of the others knew about this issue and about what happened with the two six groups in whatsoever. Then the captain came in, the interpreter and another 20-armed persons, three photographers and the captain read for us the following “your friends are safely in Nauru”. Then suddenly some of the asylums got very mad and screamed, then the place was locked on us, and three of us asked the captain to further on and he said “your family, friends are safe in Nauru, they walked down with their own will, do not worry about them and they ask you to do the same”. We knew then that something wrong had happened with our people.
- In the next day, two people came in from the Australian and Nauruan Governments; they tried to tell us that Nauru does not get people in by force. Then they interviewed some people, among them women quickly but then they were taken the same way, among them was a kid of 4 years old and another 14 years old girl who were in the rest room.
- Following the third kidnapping they read the following paper on us: “that 10 people got in to the island and that was not kidnapping”. The next day, 20-armed soldiers walked in with pipelines and sticks and force others to walk down. The following day, delegates from the Nauruan government came up top the boat and mentioned that they want to talk, suddenly another 20 soldiers walked us to get down and to remain calm.
Remarks about the topside camp:
- IOM, Australian government and UNHCR work together here, they are serious, they provide us with food and water and medication. However, certain issues are missing:
- IOM, works hard to keep us smiling however there is injustice in distributing items.
- They prefer the Afghan on Iraqis.
- Lack of all needed items.
- We are not provided by clothes.
- Lack of doctors, no accurate medication, which led a woman to lose her sight due to this.
- Lack of medicine.
While we were on Manoora, we were informed that UNHCR will make interviews with us and that the maximum it would take was 10-12 weeks including appeal stage. They told us that sufficient stuff from UNHCR will be present there, all that was in vain, there are no enough officers for interviews.
By the name of god,
All respect for you’re esteemed organization,
We present this report on behalf of 13 persons whom were the first to be disembarked from the boat. We went out of Indonesia on 31st of August 2001, in a small woody fishing boat and not valid for sailing and we had to be in a very bad condition for the period of 10 days until we got into the Australian water and we saw a plane around, we felt happened then an Australian boat came in and picked us up and they told us that we have to go back to Indonesia, we did not know what to do. We were detained in this heat until we were informed that we would be transferred to the Manoora and then when we arrived to Nauru, we were told to get down and apply for the UNHCR, we were the first to get down and with no problems because we trust the international opinion.
We hereby plea for your help.
UM Yasser and Family
um Ammer and Family.
Translation From Statement
Dari into English
State House Nauru
In the name of God
“Human beings are like organs of one body,
In creation they have generated from one precious man
If one organ in body develop pain
The rest of organs suffer from that pain
You who are free from pain whiles others suffer
You should call yourself from mankind family”
To the respected authorities of Amnesty International organization.
First of all we greet you and wish you success in reviving the rights of human being and asylum seekers of Afghanistan.
We are 132 individuals. There are 22 children, 18 women, and 92 men among us. We have come to Australia as a result of 23 years of bloody fighting for the following reasons:
- Hazaras were in danger on grounds of race and ethnic group in Afghanistan
- Hazaras were in danger on grounds of sect, being Shia, in Afghanistan.
- Hazaras, Tajeks and Usbeks suffered on basis of being minority group in Afghanistan
- Hazaras were suffering from lack of human rights in Afghanistan
- Hazaras were suffering on grounds of language, regional, race and religion discrimination.
So, we have come via a treacherous journey and left all our belongings behind in Afghanistan. There are people among us who made several failed attempts to come. Because their boats broke or drowned, however with the mercy of Allah they were saved.
We 132 people, including women, maimed and disabled of war and children as small as 4 months escaped by a small boat. We travelled 10 days in dangerous sea. We encountered very dangerous storms. Ultimately, our boat at around 400 am stuck in Ashmore Rive waters and landed on one side. Many of the people stepped out of the boat. The captain indicated that we were in Ashmore and we should get off the boat. It was dangerous to be in the boat. Men walked through water up to their waist. It was around 0700 am that we saw Australian soldiers approaching us. The women and children were crying for help. The Australian army said that they would help us and take us to Australia.
They placed us on another wooden boat. The boat was small and unsuitable. For about 14 days we were wondering on the Ashmore Rive waters. There was limited food and medication. During this 14 days we were running out of food. And one apple would be divided in 8 pieces for 8 people. We were eating expired date food. We were having raw rice. Some of women and children and men got ill. Some people fainted. We were suffering from burning sun during the day and from freezing cold in the nighttime. We could not sleep at night because of cold. There was not enough room. After 14 days, we got on another boat called L50. The boat was taking as to a never-ending journey toward the east and west for 13 or 14 days without a specific destination. There were women, men and children placed in a small salon. There we were treated like a criminal or prisoner.
There we were suffering from luck of fresh air. In 24 hours we were not allowed to go outside and take at least a few hours of fresh air. They told us to clean the ship’s toilet and general cleaning. They ordered us to sweep and clean the ship.
The soldiers in the ship were insulting us dirty words such as “You donkey” “You Monkey” “Fuck you”.
There was not sufficient food. We were begging for bread. Our begging was rejected. Majority of women, pregnant women and children got sick. The doctor kept saying, “have more water”. They were offering the yellow, smelly water. There was some good water but we were not allowed to have access to. We were suffering from luck of shower and bath. Every one was allowed to have only 4 minutes to wash his body. People would come out of bath dirty because of this.
After 14 days they told us they would take us to a country called Nauru. We did not know where that was. We felt we lost everything. We protested. We went on hunger strike peacefully. Some of us were trying to kill themselves because of psychological problems but were rescued. The soldiers were mistreating us and insulting us. After 23 days in the sea we were brought up to Nauru Camp.
We found out that they had made false promises about Nauru. They had said Nauru was a good tourism country with all the resources.
We are in Nauru like prisoners. We can not go out of the camp. We suffer from hot climate and mosquitoes. We can not telephone to know about our relatives and friends.
We all are suffering from psychological, physical, skin, and infectious diseases.
Now that America and other countries are destroying Afghanistan by rockets and bombs. We are concerned about our women, parents, brothers, sisters and children life. We are living under appalling condition. We have developed skin diseases. There are lots of dust and dirt in the camp. We don’t have water to wash or clean ourselves. There are limited resources to keep us occupies such as sport, children education and younger. The Television in the camp does not show the news of Afghanistan and mainly Japanese and Chinese programs.
Like a slave we don’t know what is happening to our future. Everyone we ask about our position we reply is that he/she does not know. We are being given the old clothing of Nauru people.
When we were in Ashmore the Australian authorities of ship L50 told us that they would take us to Darwin or Sydney. They stated that they picked us from International waters not from Australian waters. They were lying and now we know they were deceitful.
Respected Human and mankind loving body. Don’t you agree with us that what they have done to us is against the norms and policies of refugees and convention? Which country does treat the refugees like this?
As far as we know the High Commission of Human Rights in Geneva and the protectors of human rights and civilized countries do not allow countries to treat refugees like this.
We had heard that the government and nation of Australia is a civilized, humanitarian and mankind loving country. That was the main reason that we through a trescherous journey.
We request from the Australian government to treat us like asylum seekers. It means to safe us from Nauru prison. As a result of this action millions of hearts of human loving peoples around the world become happy.
We our suffering and problems in Nauru camp can only be tolerated for a short time. However, if we were not considered for settlement to Australia or we would remain in a state of uncertainty. This would cause us psychological and physical illnesses. The consequences of incidents causing as a result of these sickness will fall on the shoulders of who play in the life hundreds of innocent women, men and children.
It is important to note that here are many war maimed and disabled people. These people who lost parts of their body and became useless.
We request from you Amnesty International delegate, to release us from these torturing and dangerous conditions. We urge you to convey our load cry our oppressed voice to humanitarian individuals and human rights loving governments.
Further, one of the asylum seeker among us became physically disabled in the L50 ship and the doctor has not given him a suitable answer.
We all thank you from the bottom of our heart for your efforts for us and we thank the Australian government to take positive steps concerning our further. We congratulate the Australian government for their new election success.
We hope the Australian government safe us from Nauru hell.
With many thanks
From 132, men, women, and children
Translation by M. Sharif Amin, NAATI accredited interpreter and Translator
Ph: 61+2 97499078, fax: 61+ 96431199, email: firstname.lastname@example.org