Open Letter from RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees to Melbourne University eX-detainees urge Melbourne University to divest from Wilson Security – 14/06/2019

To whom may it concern,

RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees is a not-for-profit association and the FIRST eX-detainee, Asylum seeker and Refugee governed welfare and advocacy organisation in Australia. RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees is a unique organisation distinguished by its self-determination and community control.

On behalf of our members and governing staff from over 30 refugee and eX-detainee communities in Australia, eX-detainees from RISE, as a part of our divestment call (http://riserefugee.org/divestment-call/), urges Melbourne University to immediately divest from the detention industry and sever all financial ties with Wilson Security.

The purpose of this letter is to address the continued lack of accountability in Wilson Security’s role in the Australian government’s abusive, human rights violating asylum seeker trafficking and detention supply chain in Manus and Nauru as well as onshore detention centres.

RISE strongly disapproves of any refugee movement, organisation, policy or individual that creates and/or supports a refugee scheme to imprison refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres and violates our peoples’ civil 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 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.

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 being allowed to operate with impunity, bring in enormous profits and escape accountability.

Wilson Security have actively chosen to participate in and enforce our communities torture and abuse in detention and should be held accountable and not allowed to continue to profit by organisations like Melbourne University who have made commitments to anti-discrimination.

Several institutions – including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Sydney Biennale, HESTA and The University of Newcastle – have already divested from detention profiteers and human rights abusers and we ask you to join them in refusing to be complicit in ongoing racist abuse.

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 in 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 the Melbourne University to divest from Wilson Security as soon as possible.

We would appreciate if you make your intentions on this matter clear by responding to admin@riserefugee.org or welcome to get in contact with any queries or questions you have about this divestment call.

Regards,
RISE eX-detainee Committee
Refugee Survivors and eX-detainees
level 1, Ross House 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
T: (03) 9639 8623 F: (03) 9650 3689 Web: www.riserefugee.org/