Fifteen Iranian asylum seekers in Darwin hunger strike

| January 23, 2015 | Reply

While the mass hunger strike at Manus Island has drawn the main media attention, 15 Iranian asylum seekers have entered their sixth day of hunger strike in the Wickham Point detention centre near Darwin.

The 15 are all aged between 25 and 30. Although all of them arrived in Australia at different times between 2010 and 2012, all of them had been on bridging visas, living in the community with work rights.

All of them have been re-detained since August 2014. They are among a group of 40 Iranians in Wickham Point who face being held indefinitely as Australia is unable to forcibly return them to Iran.

One of the asylum seekers told the Refugee Action Coalition, “Case managers told us, ‘You go back to your country or you stay in detention forever.’ ”

The plight of such asylum seekers has been highlighted by the Iranian asylum seeker, “Martin”, who has staged the longest hunger strike so far in the history of Australia’s detention regime.

“Martin” has said his hunger strike was for all those already in a similar situation to his in Darwin detention, and for all those in the community who potentially face the same fate.

Now, 15 more asylum seekers have begun their own protest.

“It is hard to imagine a more pointless exercise by the Immigration department,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “They know they cannot be sent to Iran, yet they are being deliberately held in indefinite detention.

“It is urgent that the Minister intervene. Each days that passes brings Martin closer to his death. All of the 15 hunger strikers have partners, and had jobs. To punish them because Iran will not accept forced deportations makes no sense. The Minister has the power to release them from immigration detention; he should use it. Or is he going to deny this is happening, too? ”

For more information, contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713

Category: Past actions

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