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January 20, 2011

FEARS GROW FOR WELFARE OF CURTIN HUNGER STRIKERS, MINISTER MUST INTERVENE

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media Release, January 20, 2011

Fears are growing for the welfare of the more than 800 hunger strikers at Curtin detention centre. The lack of food and water is taking its toll on the asylum seekers and their condition seems to be rapidly deteriorating.

A number of the asylum seekers have collapsed and required medical treatment this morning (Thursday). One man was unconscious when he was taken to the clinic.

The protest has been maintained overnight, with 800 refusing breakfast. The numbers involved in the open air sit down protest, now in the sun, have swelled to between 350 and 400.

Their banners on sheets, pillow cases and white boards say, “Protection Not Detention,” “We Condemn this Unfair process,” “Don’t let us down with inhuman acts,” and “We want Freedom.”

Another 400-500 of the asylum seekers are staying in their rooms, maintaining their boycott of the mess hall.

The protesters have renewed their call for Immigration department officials to come to Curtin to explain why they are suffering such long delays and why the only answers they are getting are rejections.

“We are calling on the Immigration Minister to urgently intervene in the Curtin crisis before their health deteriorates any further. Departmental officers should be sent immediately.

“The asylum seekers deserve answers. They are victims of the government’s visa freeze last year and have been waiting for months,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Serco and the immigration department should stop covering up the scale of the protest inside Curtin. The lies to the media about the Curtin protest is inflaming the situation.

“The lack of transparency is reminiscent of the worst of the Howard era. The Minister should allow a delegation of refugee advocates and Hazara community representatives to monitor the situation in the detention centre,” said Rintoul

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 04517 275 713

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