MEDIA ALERT 21/03 | SAUDI ASYLUM SEEKERS PROTEST FOR WOMEN’S AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Saudi women asylum seekers and their supporters will hold a protest in front of the Sydney Saudi Arabian consulate from 12.00 – 1.00pm, Friday 22 March, 89 York St, City. Saudi women will speak out at the protest.

The recent case of 18 year-old Saudi woman, Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq Alqunun, who was detained in Thailand, on her way to seek asylum in Australia, has highlighted both the plight of women in Saudi Arabia, and their problems seeking asylum in the West.

Another 24-year-old Saudi women, Dina Ali Lasloom, also on her way to Australia for protection, was held in Manilla in 2017, until her family came to take her back. Dine feared she would be killed by her family if she was forced to return to Saudi Arabia. She has not been heard of since.

There are many Saudi women in Australia who have applied for protection visas. But the Australia government has left them waiting, in danger, for months and years.

It was the delay by the Australian government considering her case in January, that finally saw Rahaf being given protection in Canada. Rahaf and Dina cases reveal the life and death situation for Saudi women created by the oppressive and often violent male guardianship system that rules women’s lives.

In February, Saudi women also protested in at least two cities calling for the release of Saudi political prisoners being detained without charge. Some women protesters were in turn arrested at the protests.

“By delaying consideration of their protection visas, the Australian government is complicit in the persecution of Saudi women,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The Saudi asylum seekers need an urgent response from the Australian government. The government also needs to be pro-active to defend women’s and human rights in Saudi Arabia.

“The Australian government is deeply implicated in arms deals with Saudi Arabia worth tens of millions of dollars, yet says nothing about that government’s violation of human rights. Saudi asylum seekers need protection now.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713 

MEDIA RELEASE 7/03 | ANOTHER VILLAWOOD SUICIDE ATTEMPT 

A 27 year-old Afghan asylum seeker has been taken to hospital following his attempt to hang himself in the high security Blaxland compound of the Villawood detention centre (Thursday 7 March).
He was found around 5.00 am. His present condition is unknown.
He has been held in detention since 2012.
“The terrible toll of indefinite detention cannot be ignored any longer. The government is deliberately using immigration detention to inflict extra-judicial penalties. The suicides and attempted suicides that we are seeing in detention are the inevitable consequences of the those policies,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition
Protests in the MITA and Yongah Hill detention centres against long term detention and the arbitrary Ministerial powers have been continuing for over 50 days.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

MEDIA RELEASE 5/03 | REFUGEE SUICIDE DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ALL ‘AT RISK’ DETAINEES CLOSE ALL THE DETENTION CENTRES

“The tragic death last night of the second immigration detainee in less than two months, demands immediate action from the government,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action  Coalition, ” The government must immediately release all ‘at-risk’ detainees from immigration detention.
“It is clear the mental health crisis that is created by long-term detention, cannot be managed from inside the detention centres. Musa’s suicide death two months ago in Villawood was a stark warning that has been ignored by the government. Attempted suicide is almost daily occurrence in Australia’s detention centres.
“People are unnecessarily being held in immigration detention. Just like offshore detention,  the onshore detainees are hostages to the government’s electoral strategy.
“The detention centres should be closed.”
Video clips of the situation last night (Monday 4 March)  in Villawood’s La Trobe compound, in the aftermath of the Iraqi refugee’s suicide, are attached.
Protests against long-term detention and arbitrary powers that allow the Minister to cancel visas and effectively hold people in indefinite detention continue inside MITA,  Melbourne’s detention centre and at Yongah Hill.
For more information, contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
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