Serco hush-up attempt a scandal, says refugee group

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on January 30.

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Serco’s application in current court proceedings for a Suppression Order preventing the publication of its Use of Force Manual is scandalous, says Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) spokesperson Fernanda Dahlstrom.

The document sets out how much force Serco staff can use against those detained in the nations privatised immigration detention centres, the circumstances that Serco staff can use force and when the use of force is unlawful.

Dahlstrom said: “It is outrageous that a company such as Serco which is performing a public function considers the rules which apply to its staff to be something the public does not have a right to know about. Clearly Serco wants to cover its operations in Australian detention centres in a veil of secrecy.

"2011 saw a large number of incidents in Darwin detention centres involving poorly trained Serco staff being involved in violent incidents with asylum seekers. The circumstances of these incidents are not made public by either Serco or the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

“Serco is doing work that has been delegated to it by the federal government. The Australian public has a right to know what Serco staff are and are not allowed to do to people in detention. People in detention also have a right to know if their treatment is lawful or not.”

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