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September 22, 2010

FOURTH VILLAWOOD HUNGER STRIKER HOSPITALISED AT VILLAWOOD

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media Release September 22, 2010

A fourth Iranian hunger striker, aged 25, was taken from Villawood to Bankstown hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Sixteen Iranian and Kurdish asylum seekers have been on a dry hunger strike (ie also refusing liquids) since last Friday.

Their physical condition is deteriorating badly. Three Iranian men, aged, 42, 31 and 34 were taken to hospital Tuesday afternoon. The fourth man was taken early Wednesday morning.

There are serious concerns for the health of those hospitalised and for those remaining on hunger strike. Even a few days without liquids can cause serious long-term health problems.

Meanwhile the roof top protest by 10 Chinese asylum seekers continues in Stage 2, the same compound where the Fijian man, Josefa Rauluni, suicided on Monday.

“No-one takes such protest action unless they have serious fears for their lives,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “There should be an immediate review of their cases. The department has made too many mistakes deporting people to danger in China. You would think the department and the Minister would learn from Josefa’s death this week and not wait for another tragedy to unfold.”

“A review is necessary particularly given the announcement from the Minister Chris Bowen that he will introduce complementary protection legislation before the end of the year,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “We would call on the Minister to place a moratorium of all deportations and to review all current asylum cases to establish whether they fall within the bounds of the new legislation.”

“But the crisis in Villawood is a direct result of maintaining mandatory detention and offshore processing. As long as the Labor government maintains these policies it will be guilty of abusing the human rights of asylum seekers.”

A protest of refugee supporters will be held this afternoon at Villawood detention centre, 4.30pm, Gurney Rd entrance.

For more information contact: Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.

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