This Easter, on the year of the 20th anniversary since the introduction of mandatory detention and the preceding two decades of demonising asylum seekers, refugee activists will converge on detention centres around the country to say ’20 years too long!’ and demand that all refugees be freed.
National convergence on Darwin, April 6-9
Darwin is rapidly becoming Australia’s detention capital. There are now three detention centres in Darwin with up to 1000 asylum seekers. When the newly opened centre at Wickham Point is complete it will have capacity for 1500 people alone. Chronic levels of self-harm and protest have put the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) in a state of perpetual crisis. The convergence this Easter, centred on Darwin, with simultaneous protests at other detention centres around the country like Villawood in Sydney, can again focus attention on the reality behind the wire.
Melbourne Rally at Broadmeadows Detention Centre
2pm Easter Monday April 9
Meet in the Hungry Jacks car park on the corner of Sydney and Camp Roads
With over 4,500 refugees in detention including over 500 children, Bowen’s promises look more false than ever. As well as the unrealised promise to release all children by June last year, Broadmeadows Detention Centre was supposed to be converted to a low-security hostel facility for families but instead, the start of 2012 has seen the detention centre right in Melbourne’s suburbs reach new levels of despair. Refugees have been on hunger strike, have sewn their lips, attempted suicide and many refugees recognised as such have not been given visas due to the long and unjustifiable wait for ASIO security checks. Worse still, some refugees will languish in indefinite limbo due to unaccountable and unappealable negative security checks. The one glimmer of hope, bridging visas, has fallen far short of the promised 100 detainees released a month.
This detention centre needs to be shut down and the refugees inside need to be released into the community.