Refugee group backs call for Baxter probe

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130
Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

Refugee group backs call for Baxter probe

Media Release
Monday July 12 2004 07:30am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

WA Refugee group Project SafeCom has backed the call issued by South Australian group Justice for Refugees via ABC media during this weekend for a full and independent probe into the Baxter detention centre and events surrounding the treatment of detainees at the centre.

Spokesman Jack Smit stated that "in the last month alone, some serious incidents have taken place."

"A month ago someone positioned himself on the roof, chewing away on the first of about 60 sleeping tablets in his pockets; three weeks ago an Iranian detainee ate a light globe. Several times detainees have been kept in solitary confinement for extended periods, and the operator, Global Solution Ltd is enacting a 're-socialisation training scheme' which amounts to a human rights disgrace."

"The policy of keeping asylum seekers not just locked up in a maximum security prison environment, but also, with parliamentary approval, to "keep them there forever" if need be, must inevitably lead to the complete breakdown of the psyche of detainees."

"All of Australia's detention centres, but in particular the centre at Baxter, breed mental illness, as a large volume of expert reports have shown. The acts of detainees in Baxter merely reflect the desperation of resorting to severe acts of self-harm in many varied ways, as an expression of the excruciating pain of the government-inflicted torture detainees experience in this harrowing "prison-system" cultural climate with no outlook on the future in terms of case management."

"In addition, this government's treatment of the many Iranian refugees who fled from the horrendous prospects of Evan prison and the possibility of being subjected to more than seventy forms of torture imposed on dissenters by the Iranian Religious Council, leaves open many serious questions about Australia's duplicity in the refugee assessment of those fleeing from Iran."

"It seems that we're more interested in maintaining a good wheat and sheep trade with Iran than making things good and safe for those fleeing the regime. This has resulted in withholding and incompleteness of the refugee stories on assessment, because of the terrifying fear on the part of the asylum seekers. Of course within this context many Iranians failed the refugee test - but it is grossly unfair to blame the asylum claimants for this."

"Australia has not managed the asylum assessment of the Iranians to such an extent that they could tell the entire story without feeling fearful, and now we have dumped many especially single young men in Baxter, where they're slowly going crazy."

"Project SafeCom also calls for a full review of each and every one unsuccessful Iranian asylum claim, by means of a truly independent assessment of agents without ties to government agendas or bias because of political adherence to current shameful government policy intent."

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For more information:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

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