DASSAN Condemns Forced Darwin Removals

24 June 2015

DASSAN condemns the 2AM removal of approximately 40 men, women and children from the Wickham Point Detention centre near Darwin. They are suspected to have been moved to Nauru and Manus Island.

The Department of Immigration again used the Emergency Response Team, who DASSAN is told took asylum seekers by force to a restricted area from where they were transferred offshore. Many people have cited the use of handcuffs in the transfer.

Some of the women removed had disclosed sexual assault on Nauru, only to be told by the Australian Federal Police that their claims would be investigated on Nauru. They have now been transferred to the custody of those they accuse of assaulting them.

Some of the people transferred had complaints before the Australian Human Rights Commission regarding their treatment in detention. The Department has confirmed that it will not stop a removal based on human rights commission complaints. DASSAN considers this to be a violation of procedural fairness rules ingrained in the Australian common law system.

Others were making arrangements to speak with lawyers about ways to protect their legal rights, but were summarily removed before that could happen. The Department does not allow asylum seekers who are to be transferred offshore access to phones to call their lawyers.

“We are devastated that the Department removed men, women, children and infants to Nauru in the early hours of this morning,” said DASSAN spokesman Ben Pynt. “Not only will the people involved be traumatised by their brutal removal, but the rest of the centre will be despondent and sleepless in the weeks to come. This is psychological torture inflicted on a massive scale.”

The Government has still not implemented all of the recommendations of the Moss Review, and media reports show that sexual, emotional and physical abuse are ongoing in Australia’s offshore detention network. “Instead of fixing the problems, the Government has simply banned people from speaking about the deplorable conditions it detains people in,” said Pynt.