We’re Keen To Meet Iranian Refugee: Raj
The Director for Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Ashwin Raj, says he is keen to meet the young Iranian refugee who has taken refuge at a home in Nadi.
Mr Raj said he wanted to meet him immediately and find out how the commission could best help the 21-year-old Loghman Sawari.
Mr Sawari yesterday confirmed to Fiji Sun that he was in Nadi.
He fled Papua New Guinea because of what he described as continuous cruel treatment against him at a detention centre.
He arrived in Australia by boat in 2013 and they sent him to Manus Island detention camp, PNG, by force. There he was treated so terribly. He was allegedly beaten up and imprisoned.
Since his arrival in Nadi, Mr Sawari had also been in contact with his friend – an Iranian journalist, Behrouz Boochani, who had posted a photo of him in Nadi town.
The photo was an assurance to Mr Sawari’s loved ones that he was safe in Fiji.
Keeping this in mind, Mr Raj said the commission needed to strongly assure that the young man was treated with dignity and also work very closely with the Immigration Department on the matter.
“He has already gone through a lot of trauma and would possibly need the assistance of a psychologist or maybe legal assistance and we should be there for this person,” Mr Raj said.
“While it remains the prerogative of the Immigration Department and the relevant authorities, as a Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, we must always stand for human rights and human dignity for all in Fiji.”
Mr Raj further said Fiji could not afford to turn a blind eye to the predicament of asylum-seekers and refugees.
He is making all arrangements necessary to meet Mr Sawari.
However, Mr Sawari stated that he already had a lawyer and he was preparing to present himself to the Immigration Department by tomorrow.
Mr Sawari, during a Facebook call, said he had received support from people abroad and had a human rights lawyer in Australia as well.
It was therefore through them he had been able to pay for his air ticket to Fiji.
He also confirmed that he was safe with a family in Nadi.
But he did not wish to reveal his address as he was bound by conditions.
“I will maybe present myself to the immigration on Tuesday.”
He further said: “I would like to stay here, but if I get my freedom.”
Mr Sawari also stated: “I am not really scared, I have a lot of people with me.”
After minutes of conversation however, Mr Sawari told the Fiji Sun to seek permission from Michael Gordon – Political editor of The Age to meet him in person for an interview.
Mr Gordon had written a story on Mr Sawari’s journey from Iran to Fiji and his struggles.
Edited by Jonathan Bryce