Refugee Action Coalition
Detention Protest Spreads Nationally
Hundreds of immigration detainees in detention centres across the country have begun a hunger strike protest this
morning, Monday 21 January.
Detainees in the Villawood, Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA) and Melbourne Immigration Transit
Accommodation (MITA) detention centres began their protest this morning, joining the detainees at Yongah Hill in Western
Australia who are into the eighth day of protest.
Detainees at Villawood issued a statement (attached) with a list of human rights concerns addressed to the Department of
Immigration and Australia Border Force.
The national protest comes as more video footage from MITA revealing brutality and intimidation at the hands of Serco
The unaccountable use of force, arbitrary punishment, and the use of handcuffs (detainees are even handcuffed to
hospital beds) rank among the major concerns of the detainees alongside the deliberate placement of detainees away from
their families and the indefinite detention powers of the Minister to over-ride court and Tribunal appeal decisions.
“An independent review of immigration detention is urgently necessary. The Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister for
Immigration preside over a ‘system within a system’ without checks and balances. Natural justice is suspended behind the
fences of the detention centres; Ministers and guards are a law unto themselves,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the
Refugee Action Coalition.
“There is no justification for holding these people in detention. It is a product of mandatory detention and draconian
powers handed to the Minister to cancel visas. People are being held in detention for periods longer than the sentence
imposed on them by the courts.”