Refugee groups plan national protest
This statement was released by the Refugee Rights Network on January 30.
Refugee rights groups across Australia will be converging on the remote Yongah Hill detention centre in Perth on the long weekend of April 25 to 28.
We will protest against the mandatory detention of asylum seekers in hellholes such as Yongah Hill and the offshore processing of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island.
Refugees have been kept out of sight and out of mind from the Australian public. It has been through the efforts of refugees that have exposed the horrific conditions inside detention centres.
This convergence is part of rebuilding the refugee rights movement across the country and exposing the conditions of detention. It is a chance to make contact with refugees in remote detention centres and discuss the direction of the refugee movement across Australia.
Convergences were an important part of the campaign against the former John Howard government, and the movement eventually won an end to offshore processing.
Asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island have been incarcerated in inhumane conditions and told they will remain there for five years as part of the government’s "no advantage" policy.
Asylum seekers have been refusing food, self-harming and attempting suicide. The most depressing case occurred in November last year when 35-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Omid Sorousheh almost died after his 50-day hunger strike.
He was airlifted to Australia for urgent medical treatment but was returned to Nauru shortly afterwards, being deemed “medically fit” to travel. Worse still, there are children incarcerated on Manus Island witnessing such desperate behaviour.
A solidarity rally be will be held in Melbourne during the same weekend.
An information meeting for any one interested in coming along or helping to promote the convergence will be held on February 11, 6.30pm at the Australian Nurses Federation, 540 Elizabeth St, Melbourne (near Queen Vic markets).
[For more details click here.]