The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on October 31.
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Two Rohingyan refugees detained in Darwin's Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) will tomorrow enter week two of their peaceful rooftop protest. The men have been detained in immigration detention for two years and were found to be genuine refugees by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship ("DIAC") in May 2010. They have been waiting in immigration detention since that time for their security clearance to be completed by ASIO.
Rohan Thwaites from the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network said: "These men should be immediately removed moved into the community whilst they wait for their security clearance to be processed. Two years in immigration detention is appalling and ASIO and the DIAC need to act urgently to get their matters resolved.
“Tragically, a genuine refugee killed himself in Villawood last week whilst waiting for his security clearance and the minister needs to act urgently to move people who are waiting for these clearances into community detention.”
Thwaites added: “There is no justification for continuing to detain these men. ASIO has publicly stated that they do not require asylum seekers and refugees to remain in detention during the security assessment process. They have been found to be refugees and should be released immediately.”
A friend of the men informed DASSAN that the two refugees intend on staying on the roof for months and have been pleading with DIAC to move them into the community.
One of the men has a family member living in Sydney who has advised both DIAC and the Red Cross a number of months ago that he is willing to have his relative live with him whilst he waits for his matter to be finalised.
Despite this, DIAC has kept the man detained in Darwin. Thwaites said: “The fact that this man could be easily moved to Sydney to live with family but remains detained in Darwin makes no sense. It would be cheaper and much better for the man's mental and physical health if he lived with family rather than in detention in Darwin. He should be moved now.
“NIDC has seen daily incidents on self harm and many suicide attempts this year. As long as the government keeps detaining people, including people already found to be genuine refugees, in immigration detention for two years we will continue to see these incidents in Darwin and it may be a matter of time before there is a death in NIDC.”