Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Free the refugees! Let them land, let them stay!

Archives January 2018


Refugee Action Coalition



There are serious concerns for the welfare of a two-week baby boy on Nauru.

The baby was born to Iranian refugees on 12 January.

The baby has a seriously infected umbilicus that has been left untreated since Thursday after the baby’s mother was turned away at the Nauru hospital being told that the baby was too young for antibiotics and to bathe the infection with salty water.

 The infection had become so severe by Thursday night that the baby’s feet were swollen and bleeding.  Doctors took six attempts to get intravenous drip into the baby late Thursday night (Nauru time).

Yet no antibiotics were administered until Friday lunch-time. It seems that the antibiotics were only administered after advocates had contacted IHMS and Border Force in Australia.

It is understood that the baby’s temperature has not been checked since 4.00am Nauru time.

“Tragically, this is yet another example of medical negligence on Nauru that may well have put this baby’s life at risk. It would be unacceptable in Australia; it should be unacceptable in Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “There is a very real risk of septicaemia in such situations and Nauru is a long way from life-saving medical intervention. Monitoring the baby’s temperature is an elementary measure of the scale of the infection.

“The safest measure is to arrange the baby’s medical evacuation. The fate of this baby’s life – like the lives of so many others on Nauru  – rests with Border Force and Minister Dutton. In scores of cases, they have ignored doctors’ recommendations for medical treatment.

“That can’t be allowed to happen. Bring the baby and his family to Australia. ”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713




Over two hundred detainees at two detention centres, Villawood in Sydney and Maribynong in Melbourne, have declared a hunger strike in protest at visiting restrictions recently announced by Border Force. The detainees have been on hunger strike for more than 24 hours, since the morning of Monday 15 January.

Posters declaring the changes would apply after 22 January went up unannounced in the centres, last week. Detainees only found out about the policy when told by their visitors.

Under the restrictions, visitors will have to give five days’ notice of any visit, fill in a five-page form, with actual visits will be restricted to one on one. Visitors will also be required to have 100 points of ID when they attend the detention centre to visit.

The restrictions will hit families especially hard. Visiting minors will also now need identification.

These restrictions come on top of recent moves by Border Force to restrict what food can be brought into the detention centre and the attempt to ban mobile phones.

The moves, dressed up as security measures have nothing to do with security and everything to do with moves to militarise the detention centres under the control of Border Force, and their black-shirted officers. They go hand in hand with measures to routinely handcuff anyone taken to appointments outside the detention centres.

Under the announced changes, there will also be restrictions on the amount of property that is allowable for any detainee.

The changes are similar to changes that were announced in September last year but which were substantially withdrawn after protests at the time.  Both the attempt to ban mobile phones and food are the subject of legal action taken on behalf of detainees against Border Force. Detainees are angry that the changes have been declared without any prior consultation with detainees or visitors.

A letter drafted by the detainees was delivered to Border Force officials yesterday. It is understood that Border Force officials will meet with detainees’ representatives today (Tuesday) to formally announce the new policy.

“There is no justification for the visiting restrictions. They are unacceptable, and should be dropped,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “By imposing such draconian terms on visits, it looks like Border Force is trying to deter visiting to detention all together and make conditions in detention even more intolerable.

“There old visiting arrangements have been in place for many years. There is no new security issue that has emerged to justify these measures. The militarisation of the detention centres is the inevitable outcome of the government’s scare-mongering over border security.

“The government should be ending mandatory detention to allow asylum seekers to live in the community while their claims are being processed. And the increased use of 501 visa cancellation is turning detention centres into extensions of the prison system.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713