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April 12, 2012

AUSTRALIA’S SHAME: DARWIN ASYLUM KIDS SHOULDN’T BE IN DETENTION

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Refugee groups have condemned the detention of the 10 Chinese asylum seekers in Darwin. The ten, including a family group of two parents and two children, 8 and 6 years-old were taken into detention in Darwin Wednesday afternoon after making an application for asylum in Australia.

“The department would not allow sufficient time for the asylum seekers to gain proper legal advice. They government knows that the lawyer acting for the asylum seekers has no migration experience but the department have nonetheless taken the opportunity to immediately detain them; so much for the government’s commitment to keep children out of detention,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The result is that two more kids and their parents will be put in the Darwin Airport Lodge (DAL) to share the despair of other parents and kids, some already locked up for over a year and to potentially witness more acts of self-harm. Last Saturday, we got a note from a 10 year-old in DAL in detention over a year who they had cut themselves in detention.

“These kids and their parents are recognized UNHCR refugees. They have been given temporary border visas – they are not unauthorized arrivals. To cancel their visas in order to detain them reveals a department obsessed with detention.

“No wonder, the Chinese planned to go to New Zealand. The stark contrast between New Zealand and Australia has been revealed as has the stark reality of mandatory detention,” said Ian Rintoul, “The government has got the discretion to release them immediately – that’s what the Minister should do. There is support in the community.

“The whole world will be watching how the government treats the Chinese asylum seekers. There was no support for mandatory detention on display at the Cullen Bay ferry wharf – where ferry users said hello and people brought food, bedding and money to help them.

“The government can’t hide behind community opinion on this. Twenty years of mandatory detention is enough. The Chinese must be released.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

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