Detained refugee self-harms, swallows light bulb

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on March 20.

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The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has been informed that an Iranian man in Darwin’s Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) swallowed parts of a light bulb today as a form of self harm. The man is detained in the North 2 compound that has seen large numbers of suicide attempts and self-harm incidents this year.

DASSAN spokesperson Fernanda Dahlstrom said: “NIDC and immigration detention centres generally are not fit places to house human beings for long periods of time. The levels of self-harm inside the NIDC are now out of control. In the past few weeks there have been four people attempt suicide by hanging themselves, a large number of self-harm incidents and a number of hunger strikes.”

The Australian Medical Association recently said up to five people a day are attending the Royal Darwin Hospital from Darwin detention centres and almost all have mental health issues.

“Darwin detention centres are falling apart with this epidemic of self harm. Tragically the only response we have heard from any Northern Territory politician is Natasha Griggs, the member for Solomon, complaining about the costs of treating people seeking medical assistance after self-harming in detention.

“The nasty fear driven politics in relation to asylum seekers has to end. If detention centres were closed and asylum seekers housed in the community through organisations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army we would not see these sorts of incidents.”

The injured man was taken to hospital and DASSAN understands he remains there.

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