Last week, Wednesday 10th July 2019, the RISE eX-detainee team and a few academics met with Melbourne University. From our research, Wilson Security clearly stated on their webpage that one of their partners was Melbourne University (taken down after the meeting). We approached Wilson Security before we released our statement to clarify whether they have an ongoing contract with Melbourne University but they refused to give us a clear answer.
Based on our research we publicly expressed our dissatisfaction about Melbourne University’s contract with Wilson Security. Following this, academics released a statement with 200 signatures in support of our call out to Melbourne University to divest from Wilson Security. After this, Melbourne University agreed to meet with us and a few academics to discuss divestment from detention. In the period leading up to our meeting, we discovered that Melbourne University had switched their current security contracts from Wilson to MSS security company. MSS Security is subcontracted by Serco, who also run Australia’s detention camps. At the meeting RISE eX-detainee members were not satisfied with Melbourne University’s approach and excuses, and our team has been very clear that we will not compromise our values and will not tolerate any ties with detention centre profiteers.
RISE eX-detainee member at the meeting, Abdul Baig said, “We don’t need an excuse from a university such as Melbourne University. We need them to live up to their own human rights values but behind the scenes, they continue their relationships with the detention profiteers. If Melbourne University is worried about their reputation, why can’t they say in public they will not support any detention profiteers?“
Following the meeting, we are hopeful that The University of Melbourne will completely divest from the detention industry and we will hold them accountable for the choices going forward until that happens.
RISE strongly disapproves of any refugee movement, organisation, or individual that creates and/or supports a refugee abuse regime that imprisons refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres and violates our peoples’ rights. For that matter, we do not endorse any movement, organisation or individual that violates any group of people’s civil rights. Many of our members have the first-hand experience of the harmful effects of the detention system. RISE has written and spoken out extensively about the consequences of Australia’s inhumane immigration detention policies.
Further Mr. Abdul added, “Melbourne University along with other institutions have funded many of their academics and students to write and publish numerous reports into refugee deaths in custody, as well as the abuse and torture faced by refugees who have been arbitrarily detained in both onshore and offshore detention camps. At the same time, Melbourne University gave their contract to MSS security who is another firm that is complicit in the abuse and torture of refugees in Australia’s detention centres. This is like jumping from one oppressor to another oppressor. As survivors of detention centres, it is not our responsibility to tell you who you need to be, but we cannot accept the fact that an educational institution such as Melbourne Uni continues their dirty deal with detention profiteers while on the other hand, also gaining capital from their rich portfolio of academic reports and research into the impact of detention on the physical and mental health, well-being of detainees and eX-detainees and deaths in detention.“
There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australia’s mandatory detention centres. Australia has been a world leader in refugee detention torture for almost 30 years and this has been made possible by companies such as Wilson and MSS being allowed to operate with impunity, bring in enormous profits and escape accountability.
RISE eX-detainees request all University academics, staff, students and our supporters to put pressure on Melbourne University to divest from MSS security company as urgently as possible. Our members have been, and continue to be outspoken for more than a decade at great personal cost, about the abusive nature of Australia’s mandatory detention system, hence we continue to regard with disbelief that people callously continue to apply for jobs, invest and profit from this abusive system. To witness this disregard and erasure of voices of refugee and asylum seeker detainees and eX-detainees in the struggle for justice and freedom is an ongoing trauma our community faces to this day. We urge Melbourne University to divest from MSS Security as soon as possible.
Nothing About Us Without Us
RISE eX-detainee Team
A Breakdown of the health and education institutions currently financially tied to security companies complicit in ongoing detention torture. There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australia’s mandatory detention centres. These detention centres are allowed to exist with impunity because they are directly orchestrated by the Australian government for profit. http://riserefugee.org/divestment-call/