Tuesday August 16 2005 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"WA Refugee lobby group Project SafeCom will remain on high alert over the Prime Minister's attitude to keeping refugees out of Australia, especially in the context of two new detention centres having been announced on Horn Island and Gove last Saturday as reported by the ABC," said spokesman Jack H Smit today, "and we will keep reporting on the severe and near-permanent psychological damage to former inmates of detention centres as evident from reports around Australia."
"Both locations will be outside the Australian migration zone if the Senate motion to disallow the excision regulations of thousands of islands will not be supported by enough Senators today - the vote needs two Senators outside the ALP, Democrats and Greens."
"And if the tension and distrust over Iran's nuclear proliferation will remain as it is - or increases - on the international scene, the next boatloads of refugees may well come from Iran, and there is no doubt the prime minister will manipulate their international rights once again and shove them on the two islands if they arrive, and on Christmas Island."
"The praxis of detention may well have ended, with currently only 30 asylum claimant detainees in Baxter, eight in Maribyrnong and eight in Villawood, but the misery is not over until the policies change."
"All Mr Howard is interested in is keeping bad news about his government's horrendous detention saga out of the media, and with the news that a Sydney Iranian refugee is suing the government to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars over his treatment in detention centres shows how severe the damage is the policies have inflicted on people."
"In one capital city two former Baxter inmates are pleading with the refugee agency worker "please take us back to Baxter" because they are psychologically so damaged that they fear being unable to cope with life in the community. In another city more than one refugee walks out of their generous supported accommodation and become virtual vagabonds, wandering from house to house amongst the former inmate community, sleeping here, then there, unable to form a bond and an ongoing relationship."
"The damage of near-permanent detention and the appalling treatment meted out during detention is so severe that hundreds of long-term detainees now need constant care and support. The detention saga is not over Until The Fat Lady Sings, and that is until a Royal Commissioner into the treatment of detainees and refugees tables the Royal Commission report and the policies vanish forever from the Australian political landscape."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]