Wednesday December 20 2006, 9:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"One of the Baxter detainees who a few weeks ago initiated major self-harm has now poured boiling water over his feet while in the Royal Adelaide hospital in a new desperate attempt to prevent authorities from returning him as planned to the Baxter detention centre," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"The action by the African asylum seeker adds to the growing number of incidents in the lead-up to Christmas 2006," spokesman Jack H Smit said. "After many years of Christmas messages of this type - messages that should ultimately be seen as John Howard's Christmas message to those who seek out Australia's help - Australians would be getting pretty fed up with Mr Howard's greatest human catastrophe and policy failure: the news from Australian detention centres every Christmas is a Prime Ministerial message of torture and rejection."
"This Christmas, more than ever, it's time that ALP leader Kevin Rudd issues his alternative Christmas message, and all he needs to do is point to the implications of the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and social activist who is so much a person standing at the foundation of Kevin Rudd's thinking."
"It's time, after years and years of hunger strikes, lip stitching, self-immolation, desperate riots and a thousands cuts to asylum seekers arms, chests, legs and ultimately their heart and soul, that we hear what Dietrich Bonhoeffer has to say about Australia's treatment of asylum seekers - and Mr Rudd, who already has Project SafeCom's highest respect, could start by talking about 'the welcoming of the stranger' in Australia."
"During the last five to seven years John Howard has made mandatory detention into a policy that emanates a black international stench, and the legacy of his so-called "political mastery" is that we now know beyond any reasonable doubt how bankrupt the notion of mandatory detention really is."
"This Christmas Project SafeCom, with searing heart, would like to invite Mr Rudd to commit to the first clear and open-hearted step that will eventually return detention centres into Welcome Centres once again."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]