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November 27, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The three Faili Kurd asylum seekers who have had their lips stitched together since last Monday are continuing their protest and have now declared a hunger strike.

On Saturday, 26 November, the three told the Immigration department and the Red Cross that they would now be on hunger strike.

Until Saturday, they had been taking some sweet tea and juice.

At least one other Faili Kurd in the Darwin detention centre has been on hunger strike for over a week. Two other Faili Kurds in Curtin were hospitalised last week after self harm incidents.

The Immigration department already offered to move them to another detention centre if they unstitched their lips, but the protesters have rejected that as not offering them any solution. Yesterday (Saturday), the department offered to negotiate their return if they unstitched their lips but said that the arrangements would take them at least ten months.

“The offer to return in unbelievable,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “At least one of the Kurds applied to be returned five months ago, but they were told then that as they are stateless, the government could not send them anywhere.

“The government knows it is unable to send them anywhere, but is keeping them in indefinite detention

“An urgent review of all the stateless asylum seeker cases is needed. It is estimated that there are around 600 stateless asylum seekers presently in immigration detention. They should be released. We don’t want any more Peter Kasims,” said Rintoul.

Peter Kasim, was a stateless asylum seeker, that the Howard government kept in detention for seven years (until 2005), although he applied for residency to 80 countries.

“The bridging visas announced recently are not about to solve the problems of long term detention. Three of the Kurds in Darwin have been in detention between 17 and 21 months already. The Minister has the power to release them, he should use it.”

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

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