Message from hunger strikers in Curtin Detention Centre

Thursday, 20 January 2011, 3:11 pm Press Release: Project SafeCom
"The continuous spin lines trotted out by the Department of Immigration to media representatives about the Curtin Detention Centre hunger strike, claiming that between 20 and 30 people are participating in the strike, amount to craven lies and callous misrepresentations, and they are eroding the Department's own ethical slogan that "people are our business" to the core," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.

Yesterday a young man tried to kill himself. He cut himself all over his body. They took him to the hospital in the morning and brought him back to his room in the evening. He is still in his room. Now more than 300 people are on hunger strike sitting in the hot sun with no shadow, no shade.

More people are coming to join us, 3 or 4 at a time, because our problem is the same. We want freedom or death, protection not detention. We have taken the white boards from the classroom. We have written on them with the marker: We want freedom or death; we want protection not detention; we want positive outcome.

Tell our friends, tell the media, tell the green party. We want to talk with an authorised person. The Immigration officers who are living in Curtin, when we ask them questions - they have one answer - 'sorry, we have no authority'. We demand to Immigration here in Curtin - who is authorised? We say to them - 'we dont want to talk to you'.

We will continue til someone comes with authority. We are ready! See it on the white board - freedom or death! When we arrived on Ashmore Reef, when they took us to Christmas Island, they told us to wait for six months, it was the law. We did that because we are following the law of Australia. Now the process has started, no decision, no result. We have danger in our country, we can't go back. We are waiting for an authorised person and we need an answer from that person!

Meanwhile, Serco guards are watching us, walking around us, asking why we are doing this, asking what are our demands - they will send them to Immigration. None of the officers of Immigration in Curtin are coming near to us.