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August 16, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Just after midnight Monday night (15 August), a 29 year old Tamil refugee was taken from Villawood detention centre, to hospital, after swallowing cleaning fluids and cutting his wrists.

The man has been in detention since 28 June 2009 – over two years. He was found to be a refugee more than one year ago, but has no possibility of a review of the ASIO assessment that keeps him in detention.

He is one of 12 people in Villawood (11 Tamils and one Rohingya) presently languishing in Villawood due to adverse security decisions by ASIO. There are over 30 people similarly affected nationally.

Three Rohingya refugees recently staged a roof top protest at Darwin detention centre in an attempt to attract attention to their plight.

“These people been condemned to indefinite detention without knowing what they are accused of. They have no opportunity to rebut ASIO’s findings, nor any right to a review of ASIO’s decision. It is a travesty – a basic denial of natural justice,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“ASIO’s decision must be open to scrutiny. There are serious doubts over ASIO’s findings. There is no evidence that either the Tamils or the Rohingya are any kind of security risk to the Australian community.”

“ASIO has got form on security assessments. They were responsible for keeping two men on Nauru for five years before they quietly dropped one of the adverse assessements.

“There is an urgent need for a parliamentary or Ombudsman’s enquiry into ASIO and its dealings with refugees. ASIO security decisions and delays are a large factor in long term detention. ASIO is directly contributing to the epidemic of self-harm and attempted suicide in the detention centres,” said Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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