Darwin detention unrest: Freeze processing, create detention limbo at your own peril

Project SafeCom Inc.
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Narrogin
Western Australia 6312
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Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

Darwin detention unrest: Freeze processing, create detention limbo at your own peril

Media Release
Sunday August 29, 2010 8:30am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"The outbreak of a fire at the Darwin detention centre and reports of up to twelve men on the roof, armed with sticks, their faces covered with pieces of clothing, is easily explained," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.

"Ignore the repeated calls from community groups, human rights watchers and refugee advocates, who have called repeatedly that any freeze to rapid processing of asylum claims, coupled with "remote storage" of asylum seekers away from human contact in isolatedn desert regions, away from support facilities - at your own peril."

"Australia's immigration department, which has never really walked away from its inhuman approach to dealing with those who seek asylum, so prevalent in the aftermath of the Tampa affair in 2002 and 2003, is creating exactly the same conditions again as in those days," spokesman Jack H Smit said.

"If you take the open communication with the world away from people in long-term detention, if you store them in overcrowded facilities, if you lock them up without progressing their case assessment, then you de-humanise them and take that human rights away - and you create the same monster as former immigration minister Philip Ruddock created during the days of John Howard."

"If you treat asylum seekers with jailing in isolated and remote facilities, if you treat them as if they are criminals, then you get exactly the response you can expect. The immigration department, the Labor government, has learnt nothing from the debacles that took place during the Howard years."

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

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