Gulumerrdgen/Darwin

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on February 23. * * * The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network has been informed that an Iranian man attempted suicide today at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC). The man has been detained in the infamous North 2 punishment compound for two weeks. After self-harming during the day, the man climbed onto the roof of North 2, made a noose out of a sheet, and was stopped just before jumping from the roof.
The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on February 16. * * * A Tamil asylum seeker has been taken to hospital after attempting suicide by hanging in the early of hours of this morning, at the Darwin Airport Lodge detention facility. Around 12.30am, the man, who has been in detention for 27 months, was found by fellow asylum seekers hanging by a bed-sheet noose in a secluded part of the facility.
As 2000 Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Tent Embassy in Canberra, Coalition leader Tony Abbott said: “I can understand why the Tent Embassy was established all those years ago. I think a lot has changed for the better since then… I think it probably is time to move on from that.”
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on January 30. *** 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.
US President Barack Obama announced during his visit to Australia on November 17 a deal with Australia to base 2500 US marines in Darwin. The deal militarises the Asia Pacific and cements Australia as an ally of US imperialist designs in the region. Obama said a US marine task force would be set up in Darwin for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, but advanced military training, including live firing of ammunition, will be part of the cooperation deal.
Ninety people gathered on Larrakia land in Darwin on November 18 to launch the new concerned Australians book, Walk With Us. A moving welcome to country by June Mills was followed by speeches from Bagot resident Joy White, Yolngu educator Yalmay Yunupingu, journalist Jeff McMullen, Alana Eldridge from Larrakia Nation and young Aboriginal man Matthew Heffernan. In a poem written for the occasion, Yunupingu said: “We have been manipulated, cheated and undermined because the white man thinks he has a superior way of thinking.”
Twenty people protested against the expansion of US military presence in the Northern Territory when US President Barack Obama visited Darwin on November 17. During his visit to Australia, Obama announced a plan to use the Robertson Barracks to host a force of US marines for training and intervention in the Asia-Pacific. The force is to start at 250 marines and expand to 2500 by 2016. The Australian Labor government and the Coalition opposition have welcomed the US base plan.
Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin released the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Report on Consultations on October 18. The federal government facilitated “community consultations” across the NT between June and August, discussing future policy toward Aboriginal communities after the Northern Territory Emergence Response (NT intervention) legislation expires in June next year.
The Northern Territory government’s latest proposed approach to teaching Aboriginal students, like its previous policy, places a primacy on reading and writing in English. It allows for students’ first language to be used to help teachers explain new concepts, but critics fear it falls short of valuing Aboriginal languages.
In the wake of acts of self-harm and protests by detained refugees, people in Darwin gathered to show their support for a more humane refugee solution. Twenty people rallied outside the offices of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) on October 26 to call for and end to mandatory detention and oppose the proposed new detention centre at Wickham Point.
The Darwin Asylum Seekers Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on October 25. * * * A Burmese refugee has resumed his protest on the roof of the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC). The man, who has been in detention just under 2 years, began his protest on Sunday night and was up there for several hours before receiving an electric shock from the fence surrounding the Centre and coming down off the roof.