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MITA Hunger Strike Protest Continues; End the Lockdown

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

END THE LOCKDOWN, PROVIDE CHAIRS: MITA HUNGER STRIKE PROTEST CONTINUES

The hunger strike protest by immigration detainees in MITA North that began on Tuesday 8 January, is now into its fourth day.

Detainees have also spent their third night outside their rooms, resisting the nightly midnight lockdown by refusing to enter their rooms. It is standard operating procedure in the militarised compound for detainees to be locked in their rooms between midnight and 7.00am.

Photos of detainees on the floor of MITA North boycotting the lockdown and a video showing detainees in the yard at 7.00pm (the usual meal time) on Thursday 10 January, negotiating with Border Force, are attached.

At Yongah Hill detention centre where there is a similar purpose-built compound has recently been commissioned, detainees are not locked down.

The disgust with the purpose build prison-like maximum security conditions saw detainees request to Border Force officials to re-open the precious high security Maribynong detention centre that the government declared closed on 1 January.

While Border Force has said they will consider the detainees demands over food, to end the lockdown, provide chairs, allow TV's in the detainees rooms, the officials have refused to put anything in writing.

The detainees are also waiting for action to be taken against the guards who assaulted two asylum seekers in MITA South on Tuesday night when one of them asked kitchen staff to pass him garlic sauce for his evening meal.

“The arbitrary abuse of power by the Serco guards has to be addressed. The ABF refutes the claims of assault but typically there has been no investigation. An independent human rights audit of the detention centre is urgently needed. Border Force and Serco are a law unto themselves.

Guards that abuse their powers must be held accountable, although there will no justice until the detention centres are closed,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.


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