Immigration

Twelve-year-old refugee on hunger strike flown from Nauru to Australia

The plane about to leave Nauru. Source: Refugee Action Coalition

A young refugee on Nauru is on his way to Australia after being on a hunger strike for more than two weeks.

A 12-year-old Iranian refugee on Nauru, who was on hunger strike for more than two weeks, is being flown to Australia.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson Ian Rintoul told SBS News the boy left the island on Tuesday, with members of his family.

"The 12-year-old boy has left Nauru by air ambulance ... accompanied by his sister, his mother and her partner," Mr Rintoul said.

An aerial view of Nauru.
An aerial view of Nauru.
Getty Images

The boy was previously in the International Health and Medical Services clinic where he was sustained by intravenous fluids.

A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said they could not comment on the case.

Humanitarian groups had slammed the government for not moving the boy sooner.

"This is a very ominous situation - and one that we have seen in several of the children currently on Nauru and one that if it occurred anywhere in Australia would result in urgent and immediate paediatric and psychiatric intervention," founder and president of Doctors for Refugees Dr Barri Phatarfod told SBS News.

"Yet these children have remained essentially neglected on Nauru until their withdrawal from life reaches the stage where they even withdraw from taking in food and water."

Organisers of the Kids off Nauru campaign say 119 children remain detained on Nauru, some of whom have been there for close to four years.

The Department of Home Affairs has said it is continuing to explore third country resettlement options for people on Nauru found to be refugees.

While around 300 people have now been transferred from Manus Island and Nauru to the US under a deal with Australia, more than 1,500 people remain in offshore detention.

The offshore policy is designed to deter people embarking on treacherous sea journeys, but the United Nations and other rights groups have criticised the camps' conditions and long detention periods.

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