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Greens Call for Release of All Long Term Detainees

Greens Call for Release of Remaining Long Term Detainees

“Despite the governments’ promises last year, three asylum seekers remain in detention who have spent more than five years locked up,” Victorian Greens Spokesperson on Refugees, Peter Job said today. “This in not acceptable in a country that claims to respect human rights, and they should be released immediately. This is especially so given the circumstances of these three longest term detainees.

“One was returned to Australia from an unsuccessful deportation attempt after the United Nation High Commission of Refugees convinced the government that he had a genuine case. Only the strongest of information would have convinced it to do this, yet after almost six months he still in Villawood awaiting security checks. This added prolonged wait is causing enormous stress on his mental health.

“Another has recently won the chance to have his case re-heard by the Refugee Review Tribunal, so it is likely he will eventually be proved to be a genuine refugee. What possible justification can there be for keeping him inside even longer while this potentially lengthy process takes place?

“A third is suffering from chronic diabetes that he developed in detention, and mental health issues related to incarceration. His continued imprisonment is continuing to exacerbate both conditions.”

Mr. Job also noted the Commonwealth Ombudsman last Thursday released reports on number of detainees recommending their release.


“While has not yet released reports on the longest three, their reports are due next Thursday, and it is likely their release will also be recommended. What excuse can the minister have for further torturing these people by making the wait longer?

“There are also well over twenty who have spent over two years locked up. This in itself is an unacceptably long time by any reasonable standards. Are we to see these people too reach five years before our government acts?

“Some of the stories of these people are heart rending. I have met a twenty-four year old Chinese woman who is seeing her youth waste away having fled persecution due to fertility issues. I have met a middle aged Chinese couple who have spent three and half years inside.

“Long term detention is a failed and inhumane policy that has achieved nothing other than the destruction of the lives of people who have committed no crime. This is especially so given the inept refugee processing system that has led to the long term incarceration of so many who have eventually proved to be genuine refugees.”

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