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Curtin Detention Centre hunger strike

category indonesia / philippines / australia | migration / racism | news report author Thursday January 20, 2011 20:18author by Dmitri (MACG) - Anarkismoauthor email ngnm55 at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

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!
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Over 1100 people are currently in Curtin detention centre in the middle of the desert in Western Australia where most of them have been transferred from Christmas Island detention centre after last year’s freeze on the processing of visas for Afghan detainees. This transfer was done against the recommendations of many human rights and refugee rights advocates. Professor Sev Ozdowski, of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission was reported to have said last year that Curtin was the most wretched of all the detention centres he had investigated.

More than 300 detainees at Curtin detention centre are on hunger strike at the moment, protesting under the hot sun and refusing to go back inside and take food. Detainees are chanting: “We have danger in our country, we can’t go back.”

While the Australian Government has prepared official documents to excuse its refusal of Afghani refugees visa applications, a young man tried to kill himself by cutting his body. He was taken to Derby Hospital and subsequently treated.

These detainees are simply asking that the Department of Immigration explain why they have been made to wait so long since the visa freeze and are also questioning the reason for such high rates of rejection.

Immigration is saying [there is] no hunger strike inside the camps. If the people are not on hunger strike, why are they not giving permission to journalists to visit inside the detention centre? Indeed, what does the Department have to hide from the Australian public?

Message from hunger strikers in Curtin Detention Centre

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.

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