Mobile video footage reveals abuse by Villawood guards

| July 11, 2018 | Reply

Refugee advocates are calling for a full inquiry into an incident recorded on mobile phone footage inside Villawood detention centre revealing nine male guards using unnecessary force arresting a single female detainee.

Towards the end of the footage, the guards can be seen holding her on the ground, and probably (although it cannot be discerned), restraining her with handcuffs or flexicuffs, the use of which is also standard detention operating procedure.

The woman in the video was taken from female compound, Lima, to an isolation cell in Hotham Compound around 12.00 midday, Tuesday, 10 July.

Tensions have risen in Lima compound since Monday, when, without warning or explanation, Border Force officers announced that Lima would be effectively locked down and separated from the Villawood complex. Female detainees are now confined to the Lima compound, and are only allowed out of the compound if they are escorted by guards. Confinement to the compound was previously used as a punishment; now all women are confined.

Under the new regulations, Border Force is preventing women taking their food on a tray into the Lima Compound; they must scrape the food on the tray into other bowls. When she attempted to take her tray of food into Lima compound she was pushed back by the guards, upsetting the food tray. Guards then seized her and dragged her out of Lima compound.

The footage is a small glimpse of what usually is unseen by the outside world, of the completely unaccountable but total control that guards exercise over people inside detention centers. Capricious rule changes, arbitrary brutality and punishment are a routine part of daily life in Australia’s detention centres.

“This footage exposes the real reason that Peter Dutton tried to ban phones from detention centers,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition,

“He wanted to prevent any scrutiny of the abuse that is integral to the detention regime. Border Force has a program of self-justification, ridiculously militarising the detention centers and introducing restrictive visiting arrangements,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Serco and ABF officers are a law unto themselves. Detention centers are worse than prisons. There is no oversight of the conditions in detention; no review or limits on prolonged detention.

“We are demanding a full inquiry into the Villawood incident and for the officers involved to be held accountable. The culture of abuse fostered by immigration detention must be stopped.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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