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December 8, 2010

THREE DEATHS IN THREE MONTHS: REFUGEE ADVOCATES CALL FOR URGENT INQUIRY

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Initial information below that David was an international student was incorrect, he was on a 501 visa cancellation (most likely for criminal reasons) but we have no details of why his visa cancelled, and don’t know how long he was in Australia, or how long in Villawood.

Media Release, December 8 2010

The death of a 29 year-old British man, the third death in three months at Villawood, has brought calls from refugee advocates for an urgent and immediate inquiry into the detention regime at Villawood.

The man was being held in stage 1, the high security area of Villawood detention facility. Detainees at the centre believe the man suicided.

“This is the third death in three months at Villawood. The immigration department cannot explain this away. Something must be done to break the vicious downward spiral that has developed at Villawood,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“What on earth is someone being held for alleged violation of their student visa doing in the toxic environment of stage 1? Villawood is no place for international students. It is no place for asylum seekers.

“The government’s addiction to such an authoritarian and punitive detention regime is literally costing people’s lives. How many more lives will it take before the government puts a stop to it? ” asked Rintoul.

“The government is screaming about Julian Assange and Wikileaks but the veil of secrecy that surrounds the Department of Immigration and Serco’s management of detention centres has to be broken. We need more leaks from inside immigration to expose what is really going on.”

“It is still routine procedure for suicidal people to be taken to the high security stage 1 section ‘for observation’. But this only adds to the isolation and stress of the individuals concerned. It is not treatment, it is Serco’s version of crisis management.”

To highlight International Human Rights day, a “Stop the War on Refugees” rally is being held this Friday, Dec 10, 5.30 at Town Hall. There will be speakers from Refugee Action Coalition, as well as from the Afghan and Iraqi refugee community.

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

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