Canberra, June 23 (IANS) A dying Afghan refugee held in the island nation of Nauru for five years was transferred to Australia after an intense campaign by doctors, medical bodies, the media, members of the public and even members of the Australian Border Force (ABF).
The 63-year-old Afghan Hazara refugee and father of six, has advanced lung cancer, the Guardian reported on Saturday.
His prognosis is “dire”, doctors said, and he is not expected to live more than a few weeks or months.
Previously, the ABF and Department of Home Affairs had been adamant he would not be moved to Australia under any circumstances.
But he was flown by air ambulance from Nauru to Brisbane on Saturday afternoon, Hazara community members on Nauru told the Guardian.
The refugee’s case was first made public last month, after doctors and Hazara members on Nauru pleaded with the ABF for him to be moved.
After Ali’s situation was revealed in the Guardian, the Australian Medical Association and Royal Australasian College of Physicians issued statements insisting he be moved immediately to Australia where he could be properly cared for.
Nearly 24,000 people have signed a change.org petition calling for Ali to be immediately brought to Australia.
Australia controversially holds refugees and asylum seekers who arrive by boat in centres on PNG’s Manus Island and the Pacific nation of Nauru, arguing that it prevents deaths at sea and discourages people smugglers.
Refugees at the centre can apply for permanent resettlement in PNG, apply to live in the US or Cambodia, or request a transfer to Australia’s other offshore detention centre in Nauru.