Call out for messages of support to hunger strikers

Refugees in the Broadmeadows Detention Centre, MITA (Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation) are currently on hunger strike in a desperate attempt for people to recognise their humanity and to ask the government for their immediate release. Beginning as a hunger strike of 28, some of them have been taken to hospital, fainted and have said they are prepared to die.

These refugees represent more than 50 refugees that are in limbo, stuck in the Broadmeadows Detention Centre indefinitely. They are part of a growing group of forgotten refugees rejected by ASIO. They have been recognised as refugees, with a “well found fear of persecution” as the convention states and cannot be returned to the countries they have fled but ASIO have given them negative security clearances, for reasons unbeknown to them and so the government refuses to release them. They are stuck in the abhorrent conditions of mandatory detention in Australia, conditions that drive people to mental health problems, self-harm and suicide.

The refugees and the Refugee Action Collective are demanding that their humanity be recognised, that they are released into the community before their hunger strike ends with them dying.

There is currently an ongoing vigil outside MITA, on 150 Camp Road, Broadmeadows. Please support the vigil in any way you can by visiting, sending supplies or sending us a statement of support and solidarity.

We are putting a call out for individuals or organisations to email in messages of support and solidarity to help put pressure on the government and gather further support. Please email Trevor Grant at grant.trevor@hotmail.com and CC Liz Walsh on bettyblue11@hotmail.com and we can begin to send the statements to the refugees inside as well as put them up on the website and Facebook page.

14 thoughts on “Call out for messages of support to hunger strikers

  1. My wholehearted support goes to the brave hunger strikers fighting our cruel, inhumane and racist Labor government and its rotten policies of demonising refugees. May you win your struggle for freedom. John Passant

  2. For what it’s worth, here is a letter sent yesterday to Brendan O’Conner and Mark Dreyfus. Feel free to use it in your own networks.

    Dear Mr O’Conner,

    I am writing regarding the current crises in MITA, where 28 refugees are engaged in a hunger strike after being held in detention for around four years, with no end in sight.

    I urge you to take a stand and show leadership on this issue by providing for the release into the community of ASIO negative refugees. Keeping people in indefinite detention is morally indefensible and is a clear breach of international law, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

    I urge you to use your position not to keep people locked away, but to help the people of Australia to see that we have nothing to fear in giving people their freedom.

    I suspect that if most Australians knew why people come on boats in the first place, they would show welcome instead of disdain.

    I suspect that if most Australians could see that behind the fences of detention centers are mothers and fathers, husbands and wives who only want to live in a safe community with their families without fear of persecution, they may show grace instead of fear.

    I suspect that if most Australians knew that many indefinite detainees have fled civil war in Sri Lanka, where the government continues to threaten, abduct, torture, rape and murder Tamils they may show compassion instead of hard heartedness.

    And I suspect that if most Australians knew that quite likely so called ‘confessions’ gained under this kind of torture may well be the very information that Australia uses to justify its policies of indefinite detention, they might even show outrage instead of apathy.

    Even so, how many lives are worth a grip on power? 1? 2? 28? 56? I urge you to act first and foremost not because it is popular, but because it is just.

    Yours sincerely,

    Brad Coath

  3. Dear friends in detention, we long to see you free and safe. We know you are not a threat to this country and the reasons beyond your indefinite detention are purely political. We will keep fighting until we can welcome you as brothers and sisters into the community. In solidarity and support, Les Tomas on behalf of These Machines Cut Razor Wire

  4. I take inspiration from your fight for freedom and justice. No one better understands how vital freedom is then those to whom it is arbitrarily denied, like the refugees who risk their lives for something others take for granted.

  5. Sending you support and solidarity from Perth. Your bravery and your fight are inspiring. The struggle won’t end until we have freedom and justice for all refugees!

  6. Urgent: situation in Manus worsening: Message received by RRAN today:

    “Today two Single Adults Males(SAMS) are swed their lips to show their objection about present situation in Manus Island Detention Center And how they suffering for nothing by Australian Governments.One of them has a big problem in his kidney and IHMS confirm his illness and he lost weight a lot. Still no one care about it.
    Many Iranian and Iraqi Guys have started hunger strike to show their respect to them.

    SAMS are suffering from killing humadity of weather and say “”We sleep on wet beds every nights. And we have to wake up early in the morning cause of the heat. we have nothing to do here. This place is too boring that anyone can imagine that. Each of us become seak every day cause of the bad condition in here and no ne can do nothing for it.””

  7. Really sorry it has come to this for these guys. What else can be done lobbywise from home? Are you guys recommending sending letters to Brendan O’Conner and Mark Dreyfus or is there anywhere else you’re targeting?

  8. Dear MITA hungerstrikers
    My thoughts are with you tonight and have been since I first heard of your action last week. I feel so ashamed of Australia for treating you this way. Nothing is more important to a person’s dignity than freedom. I want you to know there are many of us out in the community who care desperately about your plight. Tonight I have sent a protest letter to newspapers and to the Minister.

  9. To all those held in detention at MITA
    We continue to pray and campaign on your behalf. Please take care.

  10. Good evening,

    This message is sent in solidarity with our fellow-humans currently residing in the Broadmeadows Detention Centre, MITA; particularly with those currently practicing a hunger strike as a means of protesting against their current situation.

    My understanding is that those carrying out the hunger strike are currently indefinitely situated within this detention centre due to receiving negative security clearances (unbeknownst to them at this point in time, as far as I have understood it).

    I write to share my distress at hearing of your anguish.

    I write from a place of great compassion and in some feeling of helplessness, given that I currently reside in New Zealand and cannot join the vigil in Broadmeadows tonight to show my active support for you in arms with my other fellow-Melburnians (who, it is worth noting, also hail from all corners of the globe in varying circumstances).

    I write so that, though it perhaps feels like the contrary given your present situation, that it is a temporary one. Things will shift in your favour – your mere existence is enough to warrant honour and respect and resultant compassionate treatment. This may not be shown to you from all (or even many or perhaps any) avenues from your respective positions right now, but it is my wish – and the ardent wish of many of my fellow-Australians, that you shall be shown a just and fair (even humane and compassionate) treatment in the very near future.

    Please hold out for this.

    I urge you to use the power of your collective hearts and imaginations to conjure the image of how you would like it to be for you and your friends and families and fellow inhabitants at MITA.

    Most significantly at this point in time: I urge you to hold fast to your hope and the dynamic spirit that lies within – at the heart of each and every one of you and of us.

    This is that which unites us more than any other.
    The united recognition of this is, I believe, what lies at the heart of your humane treatment in the near future.

    I am, yours respectfully and united in heart and spirit,
    Poppy Tremayne.

  11. Below is a motion that was passed on the Curtin Student Guild Executive Committee today. I understand the hunger strike has ended, but I know that the struggle continues.

    “The Curtin Student Guild Executive wishes to send a message of support to the refugees who have recently been on hunger strike at Broadmeadows Detention Centre, MITA (Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation):

    We support your struggle for humanity and are outraged that refugees are locked up without charge or trial for seeking a better life. The Australian government continues to lock up those who are recognised refugees with a well found fear of persecution in what can only be described as political imprisonment. We condemn the racist policy of indefinite, mandatory detention of refugees. Stay strong and know that you have support from outside the detention centres. We call on the government to end indefinite, mandatory detention and call for your immediate release into the community.”

    In solidarity,

    Jess McLeod
    Curtin Student Guild President

  12. I want you all to know that there are many people who care about your situation and are doing everything they can to end the cruel system of mandatory detention. Never give up; even against the odds all things are possible. I hope that one day you are free and compensated for the injustices you have endured.

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