Two refugees taken in cuffs to Christmas Island

Christmas Island's North West Point detention centre.

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on March 20.


Two Afghan refugees were taken in handcuffs from Darwin to Christmas Island on the afternoon of March 18.

Refugee advocates have called for the immediate end of the use of Christmas Island as a punishment centre and have called for a full inquiry into Serco and its system of harsh, unaccountable, and arbitrary punishments.

Serco has become the judge, jury and jailer of asylum seekers within Australia’s detention regime.

On March 17, two Afghan refugees were brought from Curtin to Darwin detention centres in handcuffs. On the afternoon of March 18, they were again handcuffed and shifted from Darwin to Christmas Island.

The two Afghan refugees were first shifted from Darwin to Curtin in September 2010 following the protest breakout of Afghan asylum seekers from the Darwin detention centre that highlighted long term detention.

The two Afghans have now been in detention for 25 months, yet it is understood that the two Afghans were found to be refugees in March 2011 ― a year ago.

“We fear that these two refugees are already in either high security isolation in Red 1 or the White 2 compound," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

"It is an open secret inside the detention centres that Christmas Island is the Devil’s Island, of the government’s detention regime, with the government turning a blind eye to Serco’s arbitrary abuses.

“Serco’s ability to punish asylum seekers and refugees without any charge, recourse to the courts or ability to appeal has to end. Serco is an outlaw operation, inflicting severe punishments on people who have committed no crime.

“In late February, an asylum seeker who had been staging a protest in a grave dug in the blue 2 compound was 'extracted' by the response group and taken to the Red Compound. In January, an asylum seeker transferred to Villawood from Scherger was bashed and had his arm broken after being placed with criminal deportees in stage 1 of the centre.

“Serco must be held to account and the punishment cells on Christmas Island must be closed.”