The Darwin Asylum Seekers Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on October 25.
* * *
A Burmese refugee has resumed his protest on the roof of the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC). The man, who has been in detention just under 2 years, began his protest on Sunday night and was up there for several hours before receiving an electric shock from the fence surrounding the Centre and coming down off the roof.
He was taken to hospital for treatment and advised by department of immigration officials that there was no chance of him being moved to community detention. The man has now resumed his protest on the roof.
Darwin detention centre ‘a humanitarian disaster’, says refugee group
Burmese refugee starts rooftop protest after two-year wait for release
Mental anguish, torment: daily life for detained refugees
The man has been found to be a refugee to whom Australia has refugee obligations but has been waiting for two years for a security check from ASIO, a process which is not reviewable and far from transparent.
“This man is acting out of sheer desperation. He has been in detention with an uncertain future for almost two years and is clearly highly distressed and traumatised from his experience in detention” said DASSAN spokesperson Rohan Thwaites.
“The department of immigration often speaks about its duty of care to asylum seekers when justifying its running of detention centres. It would seem a clear breach of a duty of care to re-imprison a man who has attempted self-harm as a result of his prolonged, indefinite incarceration.
“Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has pledged to begin moving asylum seekers into the community.
“He should begin by immediately releasing all asylum seekers who have been in detention for over 12 months. These people are desperate and are suffering from depression and other mental illnesses as a result of the cruel, costly and inefficient policy of mandatory detention.”