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April 26, 2011

CURTIN HUNGER STRIKE ENDS BUT MANDATORY DETENTION ‘SLOWLY KILLS’

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The protest hunger strike at Curtin detention centre ended around 1.30pm, Tuesday.

The protest action had involved hundreds of asylum seekers over three days. On Monday afternoon, an emergency medical centre was set up in the grounds of the detention centre to treat collapsing asylum seekers. A number were taken to the Derby hospital.

An Immigration official addressed the mass protest, saying that the Immigration department was committed to speeding up the visa processing.

But asylum seekers inside Curtin dismissed the official’s comments, as ‘more lies from Immigration’. Curtin asylum seekers were promised that more Reviewing officers would be appointed at Curtin to speed up the Merits Review hearings.

But months later, there are still only four reviewers doing Curtin appeals. There are 1000 asylum seekers at Curtin who had initial rejections, and are now waiting for a Merits Review appeal hearing.

“Immigration is killing us slowing in here,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition, “every minute, every day…”

“Yesterday we saw Julia Gillard lecture China about human rights. What’s happening under her government’s mandatory detention policy to people seeking our protection shows an urgent need to look closer to home if she’s serious about improving human rights”, added Mark Goudkamp from RAC.

Meanwhile the protest  bus organised by the Refugee Rights Action Network from Perth, left Curtin detention centre on Tuesday to make its way back to Perth.

Many detainees expressed their gratitude to the efforts of the refugee bus and other activists for travelling the long distance to Curtin to support them.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713, or Mark Goudkamp 0422078376

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