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April 8, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

An Afghan asylum seeker, Ali, around 30 years old, is in Perth hospital with serious injuries following a suicide attempt at Curtin detention centre on Thursday, 7 April.

It is believed that the asylum seeker through himself bodily through a plate glass window at the detention centre. Among other injuries, it is feared that he may permanently lose some use of his arm. Ali had been in detention about 16 months. His attempted suicide follows at least two previous attempts.

“Ali should not have been in detention. Even under John Howard, asylum seekers who needed special medical attention were accommodated outside detention centres. Ali should have been in a clinic or living in the community.The government’s punitive policy is killing people,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The Curtin detention centre is in severe crisis with self harm incidents and suicide attempts becoming a daily occurrence. Asylum seekers are being flown to Perth with serious injuries at a rate of one a week. It is a shocking statistic.

“The length of time in detention, the uncertainty, and the number of rejections are taking a terrible toll on the asylum seekers. The sheer number of self harm attempts is itself adding to a downward spiral of despair and distress inside the detention centres.

“The government must act urgently to get these people out of detention. There is no national security risk, but there is a very real risk to the health and the lives of the thousands in detention.

“Some people in Curtin are only getting reviews of their initial rejections that happened five months ago. They face another six months before getting an answer to those appeals. The government is aware that a large majority of the Afghan asylum seekers will get successful appeals.

“There is an Afghan MP, Mohammad Mohaqiq, is touring Australian requesting that the government does not forcibly return people fleeing persecution, yet the government persists in imprisoning people. Their policy is just not tenable.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

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