Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

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

Archives February 2019


A 19 year-old Iraqi asylum seeker has attempted suicide in the MITA North compound of the Melbourne detention centre.

He was found by Ali, another detainee, hanging behind the locked door of his room, around 5.30pm. It is believed he is being treated at the medical centre in MITA..

The compound has now been locked down.

Other detainees have told the Refugee Action Coalition, that the man has told medical officers this morning that he wanted to kill himself. But nothing was done.

“Once again, Serco’s indifference to their duty of care has put a life at risk,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

The attempted suicide in MITA comes less than a month since Musa , a refugee from Sierra Leone, committed suicide in Villawood detention , despite being on high watch after being released from a Sydney mental health facility a few days before.

“The 501 protest  in MITA and Yongah Hill is still waiting for answers to their demands – about indefinite detention, lack of process, and family separation,” said Rintoul, “They should be released.”

 For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee unlawfully held for over five years on Manus Island has won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award, presented in Geneva yesterday, 13 February.

“Australia’s treatment of refugees has again been exposed and condemned on the world stage,” said Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “It is fantastic that Aziz has been chosen as the 2019 winner of the Martin Ennals award. It is a fantastic answer to Scott Morrison’s scaremongering in the aftermath of the medical transfer bill being carried.

“Aziz, himself a victim of Australia’s offshore detention regime, has been recognised for his tireless efforts to defend the human rights of those being abused by the Australian government on Manus. Australia is already known for its abuses of human rights on Manus and Nauru. It will be even more infamous after this.

“It is great that the award has been made in Europe were so many politicians are talking openly of adopting the ‘Australian solution’ rather than upholding the rights of refugees in their own countries.”

Details of the award and other finalists (Eren Kskin (Turkey), Marino Cordoba Berrio (Columbia)) can be found here:

Aziz told the award ceremony,  “This award sheds light on the very cruel refugee policy of the Australian Government. It also brings international attention to the dangers and ill-treatment faced by refugees all over the world, including in countries that claim they uphold the Refugee Convention”, he declared.

Dick Oosting, Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, said, “The Australian Government must meet its international obligations and put an end to these inhumane practices.”

Attached are photos of (i) advertising of the Martin Ennals award on the streets of Geneva; (ii) Aziz in Geneva outside the UN headquarters; (iii) Aziz with one of the award finalists, Marino Cordoba Berrio, and the director of the ward, Michael Khambatta.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713