DASSAN Reports:

A 10 year old year old Vietnamese asylum seeker has provided a community visitor from the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) with a letter pleading for help. The 10 year old girl arrived in Australia by boat in March 2011 and has been detained in three different centres located in three different states since arriving in Australia.

The girl is one of around 50 children detained in Darwin detention centres and hundreds in immigration detention centres across Australia. The NT branch of the Australian Medical Association has reported that child asylum seekers are presenting to Darwin hospitals after self harming.

DASSAN spokesperson Rohan Thwaites said “this plea for help highlights the need for all children to be removed from detention centres. Australian detention centres are rife with self harm and suicide attempts. Children should not be exposed to these sorts of incidents.”

“The guardian of this child and all children in detention is the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. The Minister cannot act as jailer and act in a child’s best interests as their guardian at the same time. He should be removed as the guardian of this child all children in detention and an independent person appointed”

The girl is detained in the Darwin Airport Lodge where Serco management had previously prohibited the use of crayons and textas by children inside their own rooms.

For media comment: Rohan Thwaites, DASSAN: 0402 555

In here, our lives are very sad, depressing and hopeless. As each day passes, we feel heavy-hearted and lacking any sense of hope. We have no way of knowing what our future holds for us. All the Vietnamese living here have done so for over 1 year, they feel very sad, and do not know what else they can do. In summary, our lives in this place is extremely depressing, we are suffering and lack any sense of a future. We don’t know who will help us.

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