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January 19, 2011

MASS CURTIN HUNGER STRIKE CONTINUES; ANOTHER ATTEMPTED SUICIDE

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Press release, January 19, 2011

The mass hunger strike at Curtin detention centre continues, with up to 1000 Afghan asylum seekers involved in the protest.

Despite rain overnight, up to 300 Afghan asylum seekers maintained their peaceful protest in the open area outside the immigration offices inside the Curtin detention centre.

The banners on sheets, pillow cases and white boards say, “Protection Not Detention,” “Stop Playing with our lives, We want Freedom,” and “Where are our human rights?”

Around another 700 of the detainees are also maintaining their fast since yesterday, boycotting the mess hall, but are staying in their rooms.

This morning (Tuesday) around 7am local time, one man attempted suicide and has been taken to Derby hospital.

The protest continues to demand that immigration officials come to Curtin to explain the lengthy delays in their processing and the reason so many Afghan asylum applications are being rejected.

“The asylum seekers have been waiting for months for answers to the refugee applications. People who have been told they have been successful two and three months ago are still waiting for their visas.

“Others were victims of the six months visa freeze that ended in October 2010, but still haven’t received answers since their interviews. Justice delayed is justice denied. Meanwhile the conditions of mandatory detention is taking a terrible toll on their mental health,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The government should be providing the resources to process asylum claims quickly and fairly. But Chris Bowen has manipulated changes to off-shore processing, removing merits review appeals in the hope that more asylum claims will be rejected. It is an abuse of the asylum seekers’ right for their claims to be judged fairly and independently. The asylum seekers are right to protest,”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 04517 275 713

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