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Issue #1580      February 6, 2013

End ASIO refugees’ detention for life

Ranjini’s new baby boy, Paari, will grow up in detention for life because she is being held in detention indefinitely due to an ASIO negative security finding.

Ranjini has been held indefinitely in Villawood detention centre since receiving an ASIO negative security clearance seven months ago. On January 15 her new baby boy, Paartheepan (Paari), was born. He will now grow up in detention for life, along with Ranjini’s two other young children.

Ranjini and her three children are now all held in Villawood detention centre.

Although Ranjini, and 55 others also found to be refugees, have been declared a security risk by ASIO the government will not tell them why. A High Court ruling in October held that the government cannot keep them in detention simply on the basis of the ASIO negative finding. Yet the government is still dragging its feet on reviewing their cases and they remain in detention with no indication of when any of them might be released.

The detention for life of children, as well as all those on ASIO negative findings (some of them for as long as three years) is a shocking example of the vicious cruelty resulting from the government’s anti-refugee policies. Under the government’s wider detention policies 797 children were locked up in Australia at the end of October and 34 children have been sent to appalling conditions in detention on Manus Island.

Join our protest outside Villawood detention centre to call for the immediate release Ranjini and her children, along with all the ASIO negative refugees, and an end to the policies of detention and offshore processing.

Refugee Action Coalition

Legal challenge to Manus Island

On January 18, the PNG Opposition leader, Belden Namah, launched a constitutional challenge to the Manus Island detention centre with documents lodged in the National Court of Justice in Port Moresby.

The challenge asks the court to declare that the Memorandum of Understanding between Australian and Papua New Guinea is unlawful on two grounds; (i) that it allows Australia to force asylum seekers to enter Papua New Guinea, and (ii) that it allows the PNG government to deprive those asylum seekers of their liberty as soon as they enter Papua New Guinea.

Most significantly in the short term is that the documents lodged by Mr Namah asks the court for an interlocutory injunction to prevent any further transfers from Australia to Manus Island until the constitutional challenge is resolved.

“The challenge is a very welcome development. If the challenge succeeds it could see the Manus Island detention centre permanently closed, and prevent any further punitive camps being opened in PNG. It would be the end of one half of the Pacific Solution,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The situation on Manus is getting worse each day. A 19 year-old Iranian asylum seeker attempted to suicide by both cutting his wrist and hanging himself. His present condition is unknown but it is believed that he has been transferred from the camp to the hospital.

“If the Australian government had any humanitarian conscience it would close both Nauru and Manus Island before the PNG court rules that it is illegal,” said Rintoul.  

Rally
11am Sunday February 10
at Villawood detention centre (Miowera Rd entrance) Sydney

Next article – CFMEU campaign to share benefits of the mining boom

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