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July 4, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The Refugee Action Coalition has called for urgent government intervention in the Darwin detention centre, as the number of attempted suicide and self-harm incidents escalate inside the detention centre.

There have been at least five attempted suicides among the Afghan asylum seekers since Thursday night.

The latest suicide attempt was around midnight Sunday night, this was followed by a self harm incident around 1.00am Monday morning. The two men are believed to be in Darwin hospital.

Astonishingly, one man who attempted to cut his own throat on Friday was told he had been granted a protection visa at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

“The detention centre is facing a complete melt down. A circuit breaker is desperately needs to end the downward spiral. It is only a matter of time before another asylum seeker loses his life in detention,” said Ian Rintoul spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“We believe a delegation of community representatives and human rights observers should be immediately allowed into the detention centre. Refugee advocates in Darwin are at their wits end, spending hours every day trying to talk asylum seekers out of harming themselves.

“Immigration is meant to be meeting with asylum seekers again this Thursday, but that is too long to wait for the government to respond to the desperate situation.

“The arbitrariness of refugee decisions and the long delays in processing is taking a terrible toll on the lives of the asylum seekers.

“Serco and the immigration department were told by asylum seekers last Thursday that unless there are satisfactory answers by Thursday this week, then protests will start again in the detention centre.

The latest self-harm incidents follow last Friday’s warning to the government by Catholic priest, Fr Paul Webb, that Afghan and Iranian men he sees in the detention centre were despairing and “… in a fragile state of mind.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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