President concerned that refugees told to quit work
The President of the Republic of
Nauru says advocates and activists have overstepped the line by
telling refugees and asylum seekers to quit their jobs and become
His Excellency Baron Waqa says he is immensely distraught by the
recent acts of self-harm by refugees and and wants advocates,
Australian politicians and human rights lawyers to work with local
support workers in sending the message that these actions are
worsening the situation.
"The refugees are not in detention but enjoy the same freedoms
enjoyed by Nauruans, although refugees have better facilities than
locals. They have access to good quality education, health services
and social support networks."
He said refugees are an important part of the Nauruan
"My message to refugees here on Nauru is to accept they are here
and to understand that the Government of Nauru is doing its best to
look after them and keep them safe."
Reports from support workers on the island suggest many employed
refugee and asylum seekers are being instructed by activists to
stay away from work and engage in protests. This has been confirmed
by refugees staying away from work today.
The same activists are on record as encouraging refugees to
actively protest, a move the president said was leading to more
acts of violence and self-harm by refugees who mistakenly believe
that these actions will influence the Australian Government.
President Waqa says advocates must begin telling refugees and
asylum seekers the truth about their situation and what their
future holds, and stop goading them into quitting their jobs.
"There is always hope, but there's a time when you must be
realistic and accept the circumstances. Only then can you get on
with your life."