AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT, Hear the detainees! Better the lives of refugees immediately! There have been multiple detainees on hungerstrikes, insisting on truth and
freedom of information. The indefinite and uninformed detainment of innocent people is unacceptable, harmful and disregarding human rights.
The situation becomes more pressing everyday. Mental health is at risk and detainees are inlficting self-harm to scream out for attention. Three detainees have sown
their lips shut to express their protest! (nov 22, 2011 Herald Sun) There have been multiple suicide attempts.
96% of people who are found to be genuine refugees. Including children and women. Currently theere are around 500 children in detention in Australia.
Sept 27 2011 NT (Northern Territory, Australia) News "A DARWIN doctor has told a parliamentary inquiry that a nine-year-old child in immigration detention tried to
commit suicide.( In May) ... Dr Morris, who works at the Royal Darwin Hospital, later told reporters that it was not an isolated incident. He said other children from
the centre had been treated, some for self-harm. Dr Morris said there were about two adults turning up at the emergency department of the Royal Darwin Hospital for
treatment each day."
Innocent refugees, seeking asylum, seeking a life. In turn, kept in detention, in the dark, for too long.
"There is no set time limit dictating how long a person may be held in immigration detention in Australia... As of 31 July 2011, there were 5780 people in immigration
detention in Australia. Of those people, more than two thirds had been in detention for six months or longer and more than a third had been in detention for one year
or longer. There were 34 people who had been in detention for two years or longer." (Australian Human Rights Commission, www.hreoc.gov.au)
Protests are strong and ongoing. Ongoing for over two years now. Reactions from the police, Government and Serco are astonishing. Protesters are denied water and
sunlotion provided to them by supporters from outside. (NT News Sept 1, 2010) Guards throw tennisballs at peaceful protesters sitting on roofs. No news has been
released about the situation of the hungerstrikers. "PSYCHIATRIC drugs are being handed out in Darwin's immigration detention centre to paper over the distress caused
by prolonged captivity, experts have said. The mental health crisis in Territory detention centres is growing, with increasing numbers of self-harm and suicide
attempts." (NT News ALISON BEVEGE and CONOR BYRNE October 26th, 2011) Nt News (Oct & nov 2011) has also reported that the staff of the detention centres, Serco
security guards, are inadequately trained, exhausted, also on medication, and understaffed. The whole situation is a mess.
Australian Immigration Policy.
The Australian Government is aware and negligent of the harm the detention inflicts on these men, women and children.
Australia’s immigration detention policy states; "Under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), it is mandatory for any non-citizen in Australia (other than in an excised
offshore place) without a valid visa to be detained. These persons – called ‘unlawful non-citizens’ under the Migration Act – may only be released from immigration
detention if they are granted a visa or removed from Australia." (Australian Human Rights Commission, www.hreoc.gov.au)
Australian Government; until you improve your policies, it is absolutely essential that you practice your current policies.
The Minister for Immigration announced 'New Directions' for Australia’s immigration detention system. These included:
Detention that is indefinite or otherwise arbitrary is not acceptable and the length and conditions of detention, including the appropriateness of both the
accommodation and the services provided, will be subject to regular review.
Detention in immigration detention centres is only to be used as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time.
Children and, where possible, their families, will not be detained in an immigration detention centre.
People in detention will be treated fairly and reasonably within the law.
Conditions of detention will ensure the inherent dignity of the human person.
This was announced in July 2008. It is November 2011 and there are minimal changes in legislation and the 'New Directions' are barely implemented in practice.
The majority of refugees are kept in 'Immigration detention centres'. There are a number of forms of detention in housing centres and transit accomodation, and the
least harmful, cheapest and most humane form of detention is 'Community detention'. In all forms of detention, there are strict requirements, such as reporting to
authorities everyday (when not in a locked detention), and refraining from engaging in paid work or a formal course of study. (Human right to education!)
Slowly policy improvements come, but practice stays the same...
Amnesty International (Australia) blogger Alex Pagliaro writes (A rare step forward for refugee rights, 14 October 2011) about 3 Government policy improvements .
"(1)There won't be more detention centres... Instead of expanding the already crumbling mandatory detention network, community-based processing of asylum
seekers will be expanded. Done properly, this will mean that once health and character checks are complete, more asylum seekers will be able to live in the community
to access education and livelihood opportunities readily available in the community. (2)Initial checks for asylum seekers will be faster. Once initial health and
character checks for asylum seekers are complete - and this should take no more than 30 days - there's no reason to keep them behind bars while their refugee status is
assessed, and Australia remains the only developed country in the world that does so. This will hopefully mean less people in languishing in detention centres for
years. (3)More asylum seekers will be able to access community-based processing."
The situation goes on. To add another gruesome fact, the Indonesian fishermen that transported the refugees are on trail for human smuggling. This is a very high
offence and must not be applied to these men.
Please write to your Government members and show your support for human rights and those in detention!