Tamil refugee suicides in Villawood after two years in detention

October 25, 2011
Protester holding sign that says 'We are all human - no one is illegal' at a refugee rights protest.
Protester holds sign that reads 'We are all human - no one is illegal' at a refugee rights protest. Photo: Peter Boyle.

The Refugee Action Collective Sydney released the statement below on October 26.

* * *

A Tamil refugee in the Villawood detention centre has committed suicide in the early hours of Wednesday, October 26.

”Shooty”, as he was known to his friends, was taken to hospital after taking poison but died shortly afterwards.

He had been in detention for just over two years and had recently been moved to the family compound at Villawood. He had been accepted as a refugee about seven months ago, but was waiting for an ASIO security assessment.

There had been a number of approaches to the department of immigration for him to be released into community detention, but they have been unsuccessful.

He had made an application for permission to attend a Hindu festival today and received a letter rejecting his request yesterday afternoon.

This is the sixth suicide in detention and the fourth at Villawood since September 2010.

Tragically, he had witnessed the three other successful suicides in Villawood. The Coroner’s report, which is expected to be released soon, is also expected to have damning criticisms of Serco and the department of immigration.

spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition Ian Rintoul asked: “How many more lives will it take before the government acts to end mandatory detention? How absolutely tragic, but how telling, that an accepted refugee could feel despair enough to take their own life in a
detention centre?

“There are over 1500 people, accepted as refugees, being held in detention waiting for ASIO security assessments. These refugees should be released immediately.”

The Refugee Action Coalition is holding a protest at the Sydney offices of the Immigration Department, 26 Lee Street, City at 12.30pm today. One of the speakers is Dr Michael Dudley, the chair of Suicide Prevention Australia.


Has already demonised him as a security risk, he is worse than Ruddock ever was.
Australia's shame; Mandatory Detention. As an Aboriginal Actvist reading about lasts nights suicide at the Villawood Detention centre consumes me with sadness. I can't even begin to respond to the 'stop the boats' argument's that people use to justify the conditions that Australian Government forces refugees to live under. The Government willingly lets the multinationals boats in so they can mine the crap out of Aboriginal Land, export the profits off-shore, run aground leaving ecological disasters, Aboriginal 3rd world poverty and uranium dumps in their wake...yet Gillard and Bowen cant get it together and find the cash to build one humane ecologically-sustainable city for refugees?! Stop the multi-national boats!Stop the inhumane government policies that support the politicisation of human suffering!

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