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March 30, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media Release March 30, 2011

A Tamil asylum seeker, 26 year old, recently transferred from Christmas Island attempted suicide by hanging early this morning (Wednesday).

It is understood he was alive when other asylum seekers cut him down from a tree and has since been taken to the medical centre. His present condition is unknown.

The attempted suicide has highlighted the situation for many asylum seekers hurriedly shipped off Christmas Island. They have lost the sense of community that existed on Christmas Island and in many cases the move has resulted in them being separated from friends and sometimes relatives.

In Curtin, those transferred from Christmas Island have had no access to phones or to computers compounding their uncertainty over the reasons they have been moved and their future. “The conditions are very bad,” one Tamil told the Refugee Action Coalition, “we have no water, we have to walk 200 metres for water, there is a big problem for us here.”

“Swapping one remote detention centre for another is not solution. We need an end to mandatory detention, not the expansion of the government’s detention regime,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

Meanwhile other Hazara asylum seekers, mourning the death of Mohammad, the 20 year old Afghan man who suicided on Monday afternoon, are maintaining a vigil outside the medical centre.

Asylum seekers are concerned that Serco and the immigration department are trying to cover up the circumstances of Mohammad’s death. Asylum seekers have been told that representatives of the Hazara community, some travelling from Brisbane and Adelaide, will be arriving at the detention centre later today (Wednesday).

“The atmosphere at Curtin is very tense,” said Ian Rintoul, “the department has a lot of explaining to do. The isolation of Curtin is killing people. Now there are more complaints that letters advising asylum seekers of their refugee assessment are arriving a month or six weeks late.”

A cavalcade of refugee supporters will converge on Curtin detention centre at Easter.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417275713

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