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September 2, 2010

Rally to support Darwin asylum seekers

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

End mandatory detention
End offshore detention

Outside Dept of Immigration
Lee St (next to Railway Square, Central)
12.30 Friday 3 Sept

Speakers include Sylvia Hale (NSW Greens), Ian Rintoul (RAC)

“We strongly condemn the refusal by the police and the Department of Immigration to provide water to the protesting asylum seekers. It is another disgraceful episode in the mistreatment of asylum seekers. This deliberate ‘negotiating strategy’ has resulted in 15 asylum seekers being hospitalised for dehydration,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Asylum seekers are not criminals. They have a right to protest,” he said.

Many of the Afghan asylum seekers were told they were on an ‘approval pathway’ when they were transferred to from Christmas Island to Darwin detention centre. Since the visa freeze announcement, rejection rates have dramatically increased, although up to 90 per cent of these rejection are being overturned on appeal.

The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) has been told by Darwin detainees that a high number of Afghans received rejection notices in the last week or two. The legality of off-shore processing is the subject of a test case currently being considered by the High Court.

“The Afghan asylum seekers are the victims of mandatory detention and offshore processing. Offshore processing is obviously open to political manipulation. There is no other way to explain the increased rates of rejections,” said Rintoul.

“The uncertainty that surrounds their claims and the conditions inside the detention centre add to their distress. Mandatory detention is condemning asylum seekers to months and years of detention. The ‘mental illness factories’ should be closed,” he said.

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