The Undesirables

The Undesirables 2

Inside Nauru

by Mark Isaacs

Publication Date: 17/03/2014

4/5 Rating 2 Reviews Add your review
Mark Isaacs takes us behind the gates of Nauru and provides a shocking, and often touching, eyewitness account of the treatment of men at Australia's offshore asylum-seeker processing centre. On Friday 19th July 2013, it was reported in the Australian media that over 150 asylum seekers had rioted and razed the Nauru Regional Processing Centre to the ground. The Nauruan community were mobilised into an emergency police force in an attempt to subdue the men. Asylum seekers, Nauruans and Australian security forces were involved in clashes that left many asylum seekers seriously injured. Asylum seekers were arrested and placed into overcrowded jail cells with limited access to legal representation. The future of these men was in the balance. In the aftermath of the riot, Australian and Nauruan government officials condemned the actions of the asylum seekers. For many Australians this proved that asylum seekers are dangerous, and destructive. It proved that Australia needs harsher immigration measures to restrict the arrival of more asylum seekers.
For Mark Isaacs, who had worked with the men in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre over the previous 10 months, this riot was an inevitable outcome of a cruel and degrading policy. It was a reaction to a build up of injustices these men had suffered throughout their incarceration in Nauru. Both devastating and encouraging, Mark's vignettes of life on Nauru and interactions with the men on the island give readers a first-hand experience of the realities of 'The Pacific Solution'. His unique voice and unbiased view allow readers to draw their own conclusions and holds up a mirror to the Australian government, and it's policies. This book is not a justification of the men's actions, it is an insight into life in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre in the lead up to that Friday evening. It is the story behind a riot. Australia's hard-line stance on asylum seekers is increasingly polarising the community and regardless of political stance, this haunting and eye-opening book is one every Australian should read in an era of increased secrecy around Australia's treatment of asylum seekers.
Refugees & political asylum
Publication Date:
Hardie Grant Books
Country of origin:
Dimensions (mm):
Mark Isaacs

Mark Isaacs is a writer, a community worker, an adventurer, and a campaigner for social justice.

After publishing The Undesirables: Inside Nauru in March 2014, Mark continued to work for an asylum seeker settlement service in Sydney.

Mark appeared in Eve Orner’s 2016 documentary Chasing Asylum and has written for Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal, Huffington Post, New Internationalist, Mamamia, New Matilda and VICE.

Click 'Notify Me' to get an email alert when this item becomes available

Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (2 Ratings)
5 stars (1)
4 stars (0)
3 stars (1)
2 stars (0)
1 stars (0)
  • A fascinating insight

    by on

    A great read! This book is what Australia needs right now; an unbiased insight into the situation on the ground over in Nauru that humanises the situation!

    To touch on a previous review by DAVID D. If you're looking for a solution to an issue that the government has been struggling to deal with for decades, then I don't think one offered up in a book by a 26 year old, untrained Salvation Army employee with no experience in foreign affairs is really what you would be after anyway and I think the fact that he kept it unbiased and didn't get bogged down in the politics is the reason it is a great and important read.

  • Worth a Read!

    by on

    Mark Issacs Book is extremely well written, and rather an enthralling, yet sad tale of life on Nauru. However The Undesirables fails to come up with a solution to the asylum seeker problem. Certainly worth a read!