Serco blocks Aboriginal passports for detained Tamil refugee, Villawood
The statement below was released by Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association on May 15. Jackson tried to visit Tamil refugees in Villawood detention centre, who have been given adverse security checks by ASIO and cannot be released from detention.
Jackson planned to present two men with Original Nation Passports, issued by elder Robbie Thorpe of the Treaty Republic, to let them know the local Aboriginal community welcomed them to Australia.
He and three other visitors were stopped from entering by private prison operator Serco and “ordered out because we had held a news conference outside of the centre”.
GetUp! has begun a petition for a Tamil woman and her two children who were also detained in Villawood at the weekend because of an ASIO security decision.
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Normally, I do not forward petitions such as this on to those in my list but I feel very strongly that this case, along with too many others involving indefinite detention, must become the focus of all those good people of sound and moral mind.
So many questions must be asked of the federal government and their secret police who are somehow exempted from the laws of this country we are told is a democracy. But it is only a democracy for those the governments of the stolen Aboriginal lands/nations say it is for. To suspend laws for a secret police organisation is but the first step to fascism and totalitarianism and must be stopped.
It must be stressed that asylum seekers have broken no international or Australian law and the government has signed the UN declaration on the rights of those seeking asylum.
I and others were at the Villawood detention camp today to present Aboriginal passports to two Tamil brothers who are taking their incarceration over the last three years of indefinite detention to the UN to seek relief from their plight. Again, an unknown ASIO decision has allowed the brothers to be psychologically abused by them not being told the charges against them, except that ASIO believes them to be an unspecified security risk. This decision [cannot be appealed] in any court, as it must be, and no release date can be given of extradition to Sri Lanka.
This is Australia and this is being done in your name!
The passports were/are a humane gesture to the brothers specifically but also to all those who are suffering the same fate as the Tamil brothers and the young Tamil mother and her two young children that they are not alone.
The passports would tell them all that not all Australians are xenophobic misfits and that Robbie Thorpe who issued the passports and I who tried to present them today say as loudly as we can - we welcome the asylum seekers to the stolen lands of the Aboriginal nations and equally as loudly inform the federal government that they do not speak for us. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.
I was stopped by Serco, the private incarceration company, from entering Villawood as I did not have photo ID and the other three visitors were also rejected and ordered out because we had held a news conference outside of the centre. Like ASIO it seems that Serco can make up its own rules as it goes along.
The brothers and others had prepared a meal for us, such was their pleasure of our coming to see them, but we were not allowed in. They then asked if they could package the meal and give it to us but this was refused, as was their next request to have a visitor inside to bring it out to us. Such an act of petty thuggery makes us concerned as to any possible repercussions against them.
Please join me in signing the petition and let the Gillard government become very well aware of our total displeasure at their vile and inhumane actions towards asylum seekers.