Villawood asylum seekers begin protest against forced transfers

| April 3, 2014 | Reply

Up to 50 asylum seekers at Villawood have begun a sit-in protest inside the detention centre against the forced transfer of asylum seekers from Villawood to Curtin and Yongah Hill detention centre.

The sit-in follows early morning attempts by refugee relatives and supporters to blockade the gates of the Villawood detention centre to prevent buses taking the first group of around 40 transfers being sent from Villawood to Curtin detention centre this morning.

One Iranian man scheduled for the transfer this morning was not transferred after barricading himself in his room and then self-harming after Serco officers forced entry. He remains in Villawood detention centre.

Sit-in

Many of the 50, among them many Vietnamese asylum seekers, who have now begun the protest are those who have been scheduled to be transferred from Villawood to Yongah Hill, this Saturday, 5 April.

Around 150 asylum seekers have been scheduled for transfer from Villawood to more remote detention centres, although the new accommodation buildings at Villawood, which have 150 beds, are being opened in a few week’s time, in May.

“There is no good reason for these transfers,’ said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “All the asylum seekers could easily be accommodated in Villawood.

“The transfers have caused immense and unnecessary anguish among the asylum seekers and supporters alike. Curtin and Yongah Hill are two of the most inhospitable of the mainland detention centres and both are notoriously for their communications difficulties.

“Asylum seekers are being separated and cut-off from the network of families, relatives, community and legal support that has allowed them to survive in detention.

“Among those transferred today is one Sri Lankan asylum seeker who attempted suicide in Curtin detention in 2011.

“The Minister should put a halt to any further transfers and make arrangements for all those removed today to be returned to Villawood.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

Tags:

Category: Press releases

Leave a Reply