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October 17, 2011

DARWIN TURNS TOXIC AS SELF-HARM/ATTEMPTED SUICIDE TOLL KEEPS RISING

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Two serious self harm/suicide attempts in one day have rocked the Darwin detention centre.

On Monday, 17 October, two Kurdish asylum seekers both in their early 20s attempted suicide in the space of five hours, between 12.30 and 5.00pm. Both are believed to be have been in detention around 20 months. Both are believed to have been rejected and are now waiting for a Federal Magistrates Court hearing.

The two incidents follow another hanging attempt only three days ago. The welfare of the two men is not known. But asylum seekers inside the detention had grave fears for both the men, one of whom was rushed to hospital with severe bleeding.

“It is only a matter of time before there is a catastrophe in the Darwin detention centre,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Only a week ago there were another three incidents and that is only what we know about.

“The despair in the Darwin detention centre has turned toxic. There is no duty of care – only damage control. Serco and the immigration department are incapable of providing a safe environment for anyone. Asylum seekers are finding it impossible to cope with an environment in which self-harm and attempted suicide is a daily occurrence.

“The Minister has admitted that he has the power to use bridging visas to get asylum seekers out of detention. There is no excuse for waiting any longer. Darwin is desperate for a solution.

“Mandatory detention is not a deterrent. It is a form of systematic abuse. Refugee advocates have been calling for human rights observers to be placed in the detention centres for months. The need for some independent oversight is obvious and even more obvious, is the need to close the hell-holes.”

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

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