13 Mar 2006

Two remaining asylum seekers on Nauru said to be in declining health

7:45 am on 13 March 2006

The psychological health of the last two refugees detained by Australia on Nauru is reportedly deteriorating further and one is said to have deliberately harmed himself.

The two Iraqi men, Mohammed Faisal and Mohammed Sargar, have been granted refugee status, but were refused entry into Australia when the last group left the island at the beginning of November last year.

They had failed to get security clearance, but the Australian government has not disclosed what the security concerns are.

An Australian researcher, Susan Metcalfe, who is in regular contact with the men, says this puts the duo in a very powerless situation.

She says they cannot defend themselves when they do not know what Canberra has based it's decision on:

"That affects their mental health. It's like they have been accused of something, they don't know what they have been accused of, and internally they just feel incredibly powerless. And a few weeks ago one of the men did make an attempt at self harm which has been very distressing for both the men and I can't see things getting better for them, at the moment, in this situation."