Seriously ill Nauru refugee begs NZ PM for help

A refugee detained by Australia on Nauru has begged New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for help before it’s too late.

Fatemah, a 55-year old refugee woman, has been told there’s an imminent risk of her sudden death because of her heart condition.

The medical treatment that Fatemah needs is not available on Nauru.

Australia approved her transfer but will not let her 16-year-old son accompany her.

Fatemah’s son has experienced suicidal ideation and has never been apart from her.

Two years ago she was transferred to Darwin for treatment but was sent back to Nauru without any explanation or treatment.

A year and a half ago, Fatemah was transferred to Port Moresby but still did not access the treatment she needs.

Fatemah was asked if she had a message for Ardern.

“Me and the other refugees who are here stretch their hands towards you,” she said.

“We want New Zealand to help us because we really need your help. Please do something before it’s too late for us.”

General practitioner Nick Martin was contracted by the Australian government through the company International Health and Medical Services to look after Fatemah and about 1000 other refugees on Nauru.

Fatemah refused to follow his advice to leave Nauru for treatment, Martin said.

“She was adamant, and I can’t really blame her, that she would not leave her son behind.”

He’s pretty much all she’s got in this world right now, and she was so distressed at the idea of leaving him that she said ‘no I can’t’,” he said.

“It’s a real kind of Sophie’s Choice for that mum. I think it’s a pretty inhumane thing to do to any mum to force her to leave her child.

“She couldn’t guarantee his safety when he’d be left on his own. Certainly Nauru is not the kind of place you’d want to leave an unaccompanied teenager who is pretty vulnerable.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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