Two asylum seekers attempt suicide

May 19, 2011
Photo: Peter Boyle

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this below statement on May 20. Visit

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Members of the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network have learnt that two asylum seekers at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin attempted suicide on Wednesday May 18. The men cut their wrists and one was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital for treatment.

At least one of the men was recently sent to Darwin from Melbourne. He was part of a group of 24 men who were forcibly sent from Melbourne to Darwin against their will on May 7.

The men were being represented by lawyers and supported by torture and trauma counsellors in Melbourne before they were forcibly removed, without any explanation given to them or their supporters.

Whilst being moved one man was seriously injured. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship was fully aware of the vulnerable condition the men were in.

Kevin Kardigmar, a member of the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network, said that “the decision to remove these men from the support networks they had established in Melbourne was cruel and was done without any concern for their welfare.

“The Department of Immigration and Citizenship was warned that these men were not in any condition to be treated like this. Neither the men nor their supporters were given any reason for the move.

“This is yet another harrowing story that highlights the urgent need for vulnerable individuals such as these men to be placed in community detention and given adequate support.

“Many of those currently in detention are minors and having visited some of them in detention, we can understand the frustration and hopelessness that leads to self harm. In line with true Australian values, we need to give these people a fair go and show some compassion.

“People arriving by Australia by boat have success rates in refugee determination of 85-90%. This is much higher than those arriving by plane and it makes no sense for them to be detained for inordinate periods of time,” Mr Kardigmar said.

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