The recent release of around 19 asylum seekers on community detention has done nothing to ease tensions at the Darwin detention centre.
In the last two days, four people in the main detention centre have attempted suicide by hanging and overdose.
Another Kurdish man was taken from Airport Lodge to Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) after placing six stitches in his lips two days ago. He has been in detention a year, was found to be a refugee nine months ago, but is still waiting for security clearance.
Yet, another man has dug a grave in the yard of N1 compound and is lying in it. Nursing staff and Serco officers have been appealing for him to end his protest and return to his room, but so far to no avail.
According to some of the asylum seekers inside the detention centre, the arbitrary nature of the recent release has also added to the tensions. One of those given community detention was someone who received a negative appeal decision only 10 days ago, while other long term detainees some waiting months for appeal decisions or just a long for court hearings are being ignored.
They are also concerned that immigration is not living up to its promises. After being told that at least 30 people would be released by the end of January, twenty-seven names were put forward. But eight people put forward for release have been left behind.
“We were told that there would be thirty released in January and then more and more after that, but case managers are saying they know nothing about any more getting out,” one NIDC asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition.
New arrivals to the NIDC have been shocked by the fact that some people have been in detention for two years and have received three negative decisions.
“There is no rhyme nor reason to the Immigration department’s arrangements to release people. Nobody knows the rules and nobody can explain who is eligible and why some people are released and others left behind. That stress is seriously compounding the mental toll of mandatory detention. People are left thinking they will never get out.
“The delays on ASIO security clearances are beyond a joke. There are two Afghan asylum seekers in Pontville waiting over 10 months for their security clearances. There is no reason for that. Bloody-minded bureaucratic delays are driving people to attempt suicide.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713