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October 22, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

There is a tense stand-off between Tamil asylum seekers and Serco guards at Scherger detention centre, following an assault on a Tamil refugee by a Serco officer at Scherger detention centre in far north Queensland.

At around 1.20 pm (Eastern Standard Time) a Serco officer assaulted the Tamil asylum seeker in the internet room, leaving the Tamil refugee with several broken teeth and a suspected broken nose among other injuries.

Tamil asylum seekers have responded to the assault and it is believed there are several broken windows and chairs in the melee that followed the assault.

Other asylum seekers have surrounded the injured Tamil to prevent him being removed from the compound.

Reports from inside the detention centre indicate that the Serco guard had been involved in earlier altercations with two other asylum seekers; one Tamil and one Afghan.

The Tamils want the offending Serco guard removed from the compound and a guarantee that the police will investigate the assault.

“We are extremely concerned that this incident could become a full on confrontation,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Long term detention has already created enough tensions at Scherger just like other detention centres. We want a guarantee of the safety of Tamils and other asylum seekers at Scherger. There is no place for Rambo-Serco officers. Serco has a duty of care to asylum seekers. The department has an obligation to make sure that Serco is fulfilling that duty of care. Too often complaints by asylum seekers are overlooked or ignored.

“This officer must be removed from the detention centre while the incident is properly investigated.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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