Refugee activists have raised concerns for the welfare of two Iranian refugees currently on hunger strike in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accomodation centre in Broadmeadows, after one refugee, on hunger strike now for 6 days, was found lying by the fence.
Danielle Olea, a secondary school teacher from the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) said: “The first Iranian man aged 33 has been on a 6 day hunger strike after his second rejection. He has been detained for 16 months. The second Iranian man 32, was given refugee status five months ago and is awaiting security clearance. Both men have not received proper medical assistance. Eye witnesses say they saw one man lying on the ground. He had been there for 2 days. He said “They treat me like animal so I am an animal.”
What I witnessed on Thursday was pure desperation. These so called security checks are taking too long. A lot of refugees have been granted refugee status and then are left to go mad in these concentration camps for months and months. This is mental torture. There are also 3 minors detained, 1 indefinitely. What happened to ‘No children in detention’ by July 2011? I just can’t believe a civilised, wealthy country like Australia can still be treating refugees, the very vulnerable of our society like animals. It’s a disgrace. We demand the government end mandatory (torture) detention immediately.”
The Refugee Action Collective are also concerned for the welfare and mental health of many more refugees who remain detained awaiting security checks for months, or worse, are given negative security checks but because they've been given refugee status, remain in limbo unable to be sent back. With 2012 marking the 20th anniversary since the introduction of mandatory detention, the Refugee Action Collective are planning to step up the pressure to get rid of a policy that continues to destroy innocent lives, instead of helping them.