Activists in Hobart have condemned the federal government’s plan to imprison 400 men in a new refugee detention centre in Pontville, Tasmania.
Instead, the activists said, the government should use community-based processing and settlement alternatives that respect human rights.
The activists said they were pleased to hear there are plans to house women and children in the community, but said the government should also treat the 400 men who will be imprisoned at Pontville in the same way.
“We want to welcome refugees into the state and into our communities, not see them locked up behind barbed wire,” said Jenny Forward, Socialist Alliance’s refugee spokesperson.
“Mandatory detention is inhumane and breaches fundamental human rights. The treatment of asylum seekers in this country has been shameful and we do not want our state to continue this legacy.
“The detention process has resulted in the intensification of trauma and irreparable mental health issues.”
The suicide of Mohammed Asif Atay in Curtin detention centre on March 28 was the sixth known refugee to die in detention in the past seven months.
Victoria Martin-Iverson from the Refugee Rights Action Network in Perth said she was told there was a suicide attempt every day at the Christmas Island detention centre.
Refugee rights advocates will be holding protests outside the Curtin, Villawood and Maribyrnong detention centres over the Easter weekend to call for an end to mandatory detention.