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February 16, 2011

NO RETURN TO CHRISTMAS ISLAND: REFUGEE PROTEST TO SUPPORT CHRISTMAS ISLAND SURVIVORS

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media Release February 15, 2011

Refugee supporters will hold a protest outside Villawood detention centre (on Miowera Road) on Wednesday 16 February starting at 4.30pm, to show support for the survivors and to press the demand that the Minister for Immigration not return the survivors to Christmas Island.

Christmas Island survivors are being held overnight at Villawood and relatives are being allowed to visit for a few hours on Wednesday, ending at 4.00pm.

It is unclear when the Department of Immigration plans to return the survivors, but its original plans scheduled the survivors for return on Wednesday.

“Our hearts go out to the survivors. We will be pressing the Minister to allow the survivors to stay in Sydney and to bring those still on Christmas Island to the mainland as a matter of priority. The suffering of the survivors is undeniable. Their welfare and any hope of recovery requires a compassionate response from the government,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“No amount of counselling can hope to deal with the psychological trauma of detention on the island that claimed their loved-one’s lives. On Christmas Island, since the tragedy, Seena, the orphaned nine year-old Iranian boy has taken to meeting and watching newly arrived asylum boats in the hope that his parents will be on the ‘next boat’.

“Can anything justify such suffering for another day? What has happened to ‘children out of detention’ or detention being ‘a last resort’? It is time to end mandatory detention and let the survivors stay in Sydney.”

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

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