Fazileh Mansour Beigi

Fazileh Mansour Beigi is an Iranian refugee who was seeking asylum in Australia when she and her two sons were taken to an offshore immigration detention facility operated in Nauru. The Nauru Regional Processing Center is operated by a company called Broadspectrum on behalf of the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection which enforces a policy of mandatory and indefinite detention for immigrants trying to enter the country. The Nauruan government receives compensation for hosting the processing center on its shores. Media access to Nauru is extremely restrictive, but recently files have been leaked detailing the horrors of abuse and neglect that face the people who have been detained.

Fazileh and her sons have been held at the processing center since 2013. In June of 2018 her eldest son, Fariborz Karami, committed suicide after years of asking for treatment for his failing mental health. Fariborz’s body was held in cold storage at the camp for weeks, while repeated requests from Fazileh to retrieve the remains and bury the body anywhere other than Nauru or Iran were ignored or denied. In the wake of her son’s death, Fazileh has written a letter to the Australian government which has been published in various media formats, thus bringing some much-needed attention to the dire situation that faces the refugees in Nauru.

In her own words, Fazileh writes, “I am the same suffering and miserable mother who repeatedly begged you to help. Frequently, I implored you to assist me. An ill mother who could not stand to see her children in this situation anymore. Often, I told you and I wrote to you that my sons are depressed and exhausted ‘please help a sick and feeble mother’. But, instead of support, you replied that if I couldn’t tolerate it, I should return to my country. Again I made a complaint to you and I wrote that after five years facing torture, I am not able to go back to my country. For five years you incarcerated me and my innocent children in Nauru and ignored us. I know that your violence and cruelty is deeply rooted and against that I am a powerless woman. You even deprived me of having a mobile phone, lest I speak up? But I always told you if any harm befell my children, I wouldn’t remain silent…My 26-year-old son had his last breaths in your moldy tents and closed his beautiful eyes to your abomination, injustice, and disgusting policies.”

Illustration by Jessica Barbon

Nauru

The idea behind this piece was to create the feeling of the magical and unexplainable bond between a mother and a child and to celebrate the beauty that Fariborz Karami brought into the world. With bright colors and abstract forms, a benevolent feeling is formed when the mother and child’s hands touch.

Total Area
21 km2 (42nd)

Demonym
Nauruan

Government
Non-partisan democracy, parliamentary republic

Population
9,591

Capital
Yaren & Denigomodu

GDP (PPP)
$14,800