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May 11, 2012

ASIO NEGATIVE TAMIL REFUGEE ATTEMPTS SUICIDE – SECOND IN TWO MONTHS

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

A Tamil refugee with an ASIO negative security finding attempted suicide in the early hours of today (Friday) morning. He is the second ASIO negative Tamil refugee to attempt suicide in less than a month at the misnamed Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) detention centre.

The Tamil man, who is 36, had attempted suicide by hanging and was dropped down by fellow refugees who found him at around 1.30am this morning.

The Tamil refugee, who has been given a negative ASIO finding, had been in detention for 35 months. He was taken to hospital by ambulance, unconscious and with a weak pulse. His present condition is not known.

It is the second time, in less than a month, that ASIO-rejected refugees have attempted suicide at MITA. Many of the ASIO rejected refugees have now been in detention for three years or longer.

“The attempted suicides highlight the terrible situation for the ASIO-negative refugees,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “They are condemned to indefinite detention, without charge or trial. There is no right to know what evidence ASIO relies on for the negative security finding and there is no right to review or appeal negative decisions.

“The Labor government has been sitting on its hands since last December’s ALP national conference called for the independent security monitor to review the handling of ASIO refugee assessments, said Rintoul.

The indefinite detention of ASIO negative refugees is the subject of a complaint by ASIO negative refugees in Australian detention to the Geneva UN High Commission for Human Rights. The Australian government has been given until July to respond to a complaint. The recent Parliamentary Report into detention has also called for refugees to have the same rights of review and appeal for their ASIO assessments as Australian citizens.

“Chris Bowen must urgently address the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention that call for refugees to have the same rights of review and appeal for their ASIO assessments as Australian citizens. This is becoming a matter of life and death,” said Lucy Honan, from Melbourne Refugee Action Collective.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul (Refugee Action Coalition) 0417 275 713 or Lucy Honan from the Melbourne Refugee Action Collective, 0404728104

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