Yesterday yet another young asylum seeker attempted suicide at Darwin Airport Lodge, as did a child, two weeks ago. Suicide attempts and self-harm are rife in Australia’s detention facilities as people grow anxious about being sent to Nauru and Manus Island.
Detention facilities are bursting at the seams with families, children and heavily pregnant mothers flown in from Christmas Island. The situation is a tinderbox.
Children are seeing many people with bandages around their necks and wrists. Blood is splattered on walls from people cutting themselves.
Ms Leila Druery, a spokesperson for ChilOut states, ‘These children are seeing things no child – or adult for that matter – should ever see. We fear that they’ll see acts of self-harm and suicide attempts and think that’s an option for them.’
Two weeks ago a 17-year-old boy cut his throat in an attempt at suicide.
Gerry Georgatos, PhD Law researcher, Deaths in Custody says, ‘Communications from within Darwin Airport Lodge describe horrific circumstances …
“Young children are among the most vulnerable. If they languish in prison-like detention … their despair leads to multiple trauma and for some to suicide. Children are attempting suicide in great numbers.”
Asylum seekers are being told they will be sent to Nauru if they speak out.
ChilOut echoes recent calls by the Australian Medical Association (NT branch) for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to visit Darwin.
Ms Druery says, ‘They should see for themselves what’s happening. Both are parents of young children and should not accept any child being exposed to these horrors.’
DIAC currently classifies many incidences as self harm and self injury rather than attempted suicide. That’s why advocates say the numbers are deceptively low.
Ms Druery states, ‘Until suicides are properly classified we can’t get a clear picture. We need the truth, not deception. Children’s lives are at risk.
‘If things don’t change it’s only a matter of time before a child dies. Children should simply not be in these horrendous environments.’
For more information contact Leila Druery 0410510595 or
Gerry Georgatos 0430 657 309.
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