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August 5, 2011

MALAYSIA DEPORTEES CALL FOR HELP, DECLARE HUNGER STRIKE ADVOCATES DEMAND ACCESS TO THE ASYLUM SEEKERS

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Refugee advocates tonight received a distressed call for help from one of the asylum seekers being held pending removal to Malaysia.

The short call said only, “We are in a bad way, we need help. We are starting a hunger strike.”

“We are calling on the government to allow lawyers to have access to the asylum seekers. The cry for help is clear enough. If the government has nothing to hide, then it will allow lawyers to contact them. The government is trying to avoid their Malaysia deal being tested in the courts – so much for democracy,” said Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The asylum seekers have committed no crime but are effectively being held incommunicado. The abuse of their human rights has started even before they have been sent to Malaysia. What hope do they have if the government is successful putting them on a plane,” said Rintoul.

“We are also calling for human rights observers to be flown to the island to provide independent observers of their treatment in detention. There is already an inquiry into the use of tear gas and bean-bag bullets by the AFP during protests on the island.

“We have no confidence that the AFP is able to deal responsibly with such vulnerable people. It is difficult to see how the government can justify using the Federal police against people who have committed no crime.”

For more information contact Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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