BROKEN PROMISES: AFTER ONE YEAR, FORGOTTEN ASYLUM SEEKERS HUNGER STRIKE IN DARWIN

> Refugee Action Coalition
> MEDIA RELEASE
>
> BROKEN PROMISES: AFTER ONE YEAR, FORGOTTEN ASYLUM SEEKERS HUNGER
> STRIKE IN DARWIN
>
> Sixteen, out of a group of 27, asylum seekers brought from Nauru a
> year ago to be released, have begun a hunger strike in the Darwin
> detention centre at Wickham Point to draw attention to their plight.
>
> The sixteen (11 Palestinian, 1 Iraqi, 2 Lebanese) began the hunger
> strike nine days ago. Three of the Palestinean hunger strikers were
> hospitalised on Sunday 29 November. Out of desperation, both of the
> Lebanese cut their wrists on Saturday night.
>
> The 27 were among the asylum seekers who were charged after the riots
> on Nauru in July 2013, which substantially destroyed the original detention centre.
>
> No evidence about any involvement in the riot was ever presented
> against them. In September 2014, they were offered a deal to get off
> Nauru. At the time, they had already been waiting 14 months for a
> trial to clear their names.
>
> They were told that if they pleaded guilty to ‘unlawful assembly’, no
> conviction would be recorded.
>
> They were told that after some community service on Nauru, they would be
> sent to Australia and be released while their refugee claims were
> assessed in Australia.
>
> The 27 were brought to Australia on 1 November, 2014 and expected to
> be released on bridging visas by Christmas 2014. A year later and they
> are still waiting; and are still being told their applications for
> bridging visas are on Peter Dutton’s desk.
>

 

 

> All the other asylum seekers who had been held in Nauru prior to July
> 2013 have been released on bridging visas and are living in the
> community.
>
> On 10 October, 2015, around 11 asylum seekers from Nauru, who has
> similarly been charged after the riot, but who were only transferred
> to Australia in April 2015, were released.
>
> “The injustice is obvious. The department of immigration has broken
> the promises made to these asylum seekers. Everyone who followed the
> case, understood that they would be released on bridging visas a year
> ago,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
>
> “These guys should be released. There is no excuse for keeping them in
> detention. It is arbitrary detention and bureaucratic delay at its
> worst.”
>
> For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 2715 713.