22 Sep 2005

Australian experts to assess mental health of Nauru detainees - report

10:10 am on 22 September 2005

Reports from Australia say the government has sent two mental health experts to Nauru to assess the plight of asylum seekers being housed there in a detention centre.

The Age newspaper is reporting a 20-year-old Iraqi man, Monawir al-Jaber, is under constant watch, after serious acts of self-harm.

Many of the 26 other Iraqi and Afghan detainees need drugs to get to sleep, apparently because of depression.

The mental health experts Paris Aristotle and Dr Ida Kaplan are expected to interview the asylum seekers as early as today.

The newspaper says the former Australian immigration minister John Hodges will also be in Nauru.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has consistently asked Australia to give visas to the Iraqis in Nauru on humanitarian grounds.