Four refugee activists were barred from visiting refugees at Villawood detention centre after being ‘deemed to have taken part in a protest’ at the Villawood gate.

The four were visiting Villawood to present two ASIO-negative Tamil refugees with Aboriginal passports issued by the Treaty Republic.

The four have been referred to Serco’s Deputy Manager Shaun Maxwell regaring the specifics of the decision. But Maxwell was unobtainable at Villawood this afternoon.

“This is a completely arbitrary and outrageous decision taken by Serco and the Immigration managers at Villawood,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“There was no protest at the gate. But even if there was, since when did being involved in a protest allow Serco or Immigration to ban people from visiting refugees?

“It is another indication of the arbitrary and unaccountable power that Serco has to punish asylum seekers and now visitors. It seems both Serco and the Immigration Department have found even more creative ways to abuse human and democratic rights,” said Rintoul.

“We will be looking for an apology from Serco and the Immigration Department for this decision and a guarantee that they respect the right to protest by detainees and members of the public. And if they think that their short-sighted decision will prevent the Aboriginal passports being delivered to the two Tamil refugees, they had better think again.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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