Today is day three of a mass hunger strike by 28 refugees in Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) in a Melbourne suburb called Broadmeadows.  These refugees, have been given refugee status and then assessed by ASIO (Australian Security intelligence Organisation) as being a “security threat” without revealing the criteria or reasons used to make these assessments.  The refugees are asking to be released into the community after being held indefinitely for an average of 2-3 years, not knowing if they are ever going to be released. They are refusing to accept medical treatment saying “If the Australian Government does not release us, we ask that they kill us mercifully.”

The world has been outraged by administrative detention by the Apartheid regime of South Africa or the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoners by Israel yet nothing has been said about this very same gross violation of human rights happening within the borders of Australia.  There are 56 refugee men and women held indefinitely in administrative detention with their children under these “security measures”.  Two women have given birth while being held in detention.  None of these refugees, including a few who spent a period of time in the community before being taken back into detention due to an adverse ASIO assessment have been convicted of any crime in a court of law in Australia.

According to Australian law, the Australian Human Rights commission cannot investigate any human rights violations by ASIO.   According to Australian law, mandatory and indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers is legal and only Australia’s Minister for Immigration and citizenship, Mr. Brendan O’Connor has the power to release these refugees.

To quote Australian labor MP, Daryl Melham, Chairman of a detention inquiry committee, “In the old days, if Nelson Mandela, when he was being jailed in South Africa, had hopped on a boat and come to Australia, under these guidelines he’d have been kept in detention.”

Take Action Now:

Contact Australian immigration minister, Mr. Brendan O’Connor (Email: brendan.oconnor.mp@aph.gov.au) and ask him to release these refugees from indefinite detention.  Also contact your local Mps http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Guidelines_for_Contacting_Senators_and_Members/los

In addition to this we ask those in other countries that you contact Mr. O’ Conner (Email: brendan.oconnor.mp@aph.gov.au) and the local Australian embassy (http://www.dfat.gov.au/missions/) and ask the Australian government to free these refugees.


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