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Detention Protest Spreads Nationally

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

Detention Protest Spreads Nationally

Hundreds of immigration detainees in detention centres across the country have begun a hunger strike protest this morning, Monday 21 January.

Detainees in the Villawood, Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA) and Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) detention centres began their protest this morning, joining the detainees at Yongah Hill in Western Australia who are into the eighth day of protest.

Detainees at Villawood issued a statement (attached) with a list of human rights concerns addressed to the Department of Immigration and Australia Border Force.

The national protest comes as more video footage from MITA revealing brutality and intimidation at the hands of Serco guards.

The unaccountable use of force, arbitrary punishment, and the use of handcuffs (detainees are even handcuffed to hospital beds) rank among the major concerns of the detainees alongside the deliberate placement of detainees away from their families and the indefinite detention powers of the Minister to over-ride court and Tribunal appeal decisions.

“An independent review of immigration detention is urgently necessary. The Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister for Immigration preside over a ‘system within a system’ without checks and balances. Natural justice is suspended behind the fences of the detention centres; Ministers and guards are a law unto themselves,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“There is no justification for holding these people in detention. It is a product of mandatory detention and draconian powers handed to the Minister to cancel visas. People are being held in detention for periods longer than the sentence imposed on them by the courts.”


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