Media Release: Refugee left in limbo attempts suicide in MITA

A Kurdish refugee in his mid-30s attempted suicide at approximately 6.00am at the Melbourne Immigration Transit accommodation centre. He was unsuccessful as he was stopped by his friends and SERCO guards. Fearing for his mental health, SERCO and police officers sent him to a hospital at approximately 6.30am.

This attempted suicide is the result of SERCO and immigration detention policies leaving him in limbo. He has been in detention for 14 months and was given refugee status after 7 months.

He remains detained after Serco branded him a “person of interest”. After a fight between himself and other refugees he was told that his case was pending police investigation. Yet according to his friends he has never been called into a police interview or court.

After receiving refugee status he spent 5 months in Curtin detention centre before being transferred to Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation. This is at least the third known attempted suicide within MITA detention centre in the last 5 months.

The incident highlights the plight of many refugees regarded as ‘persons of interest’ who are effectively indefinitely detained even though they have not been interviewed, charged or are even being investigated for possible charges. It is an absolute abuse of natural justice.

Serco and the immigration department are acting as judge, and jury and executioner in such cases.

Mandatory detention is keeping refugees in limbo, with associated mental health issues driving them to self-harm and suicide.

There needs to be immediate investigation into why the Australian Federal Police, SERCO, and the Immigration Department are keeping refugees in limbo indefinitely.

The policy of mandatory detention is inherently flawed and there is no reason why refugees such as Mr F should be indefinitely detained without charge or trial and driven to suicide.