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October 12, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Refugee advocates are calling for a specific inquiry into the Darwin detention centre as reports of more cases of attempted suicide and self harm emerge from inside the detention centre.

Yesterday (ie Tuesday 11 October) there were two serious attempts at suicide. Around 5.00am, one Iranian man in the early morning took an overdose of tablets. It is believed the same man later seriously self harmed when released from the medical centre.

At midday on Tuesday another man (thought to be Kurdish) attempted to hang himself. He had been taken to hospital and had not returned to the compound yesterday afternoon. His present condition is unknown.

The suicide attempts on Tuesday follow an attempted hanging last Sunday.

There were also protests in the south 2 compound the scene of the mock burial protests, after a number of Afghans some in detention for over 20 months received rejection notices.

“Attempted suicide has become an almost daily occurrence in Darwin,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “Urgent action is needed now. Darwin is at breaking point as people have given up hope that the government will ever listen.

“The Ombudsman is expected to make recommendations in December but asylum seekers cannot wait that long. An independent human rights observer is needed inside Darwin detention centre.

“The issue of long term detention is something that the government can address immediately. People have given up hope that the government will ever respond to their pleas.

The government has around 600 stateless asylum seekers that cannot be sent anywhere. They could be released straight away. The government has admitted that it cannot send Iranian asylum seekers back to Iran, but immigration department is trying to wear people down so they will agree to be removed. They should also be released.

“It is great that the Malaysia Agreement and third country processing is about to be voted down in parliament. Now the government must clean up the human rights abuses in its own detention regime.”

A major rally calling for an end to offshore processing and mandatory detention will be held in Sydney on Saturday 15 October, 12 noon at Town Hall.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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