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June 30, 2011

HUNGER STRIKE SPREADS IN DARWIN DETENTION CENTRE

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Up to 90 asylum seekers and refugees in the Darwin detention have joined a hunger strike in protest at the long delays in processing.

The hunger strike that began in conjunction with yesterday’s (ie Wednesday 29 June) roof top protest includes Afghans, Iraqis, Kurds and Burmese.

Some people were found to be refugees but have been waiting for over 18 months for an ASIO security check. Many of the Afghans were held in detention for six months, from April to October 2010 when the government imposed a freeze on processing Afghan asylum claims.

Now, after initial rejections, they have been waiting four and five months for an answer to their appeal against those rejections.

“After the Christmas Island protests, all people in detention received a letter promising that outstanding security clearances would be finalised by the end of April. But many were not finalised, “ said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The letter also promised that both merits review appeals and security clearances would be carried out more quickly, but there is no sign that this is happening. People are left in limbo. There are no excuses for the delays.”

“Day by day, they are killing us. Every day, we don’t know what is happening to us. We need an answer,” one Darwin asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Self-harm and attempted suicide in Australia’s detention centres is completely out of control. It is a direct result of mandatory and long-term detention. With Darwin is set to become the detention capital of Australia, the abuse will continue, “ said Rintoul

“There is no reason for people being held in detention while their claims are processed. All, asylum seekers, not just families and unaccompanied minors should be released.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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