Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network

“Tell him to write a will” was the reaction of the Australian government when doctors requested an emergency transfer to an Australian hospital for a seriously ill Afghan asylum seeker.

He has written a will, requesting that if he dies, the Australian government care for his children and provide them with an education.

Doctors have expressed extreme concern for “Abdullah”, a single father of two teenagers trapped on Nauru with an urgent heart condition requiring airlift to Australia. His case has not been classed as an emergency. 

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this statement on February 27. * * * The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called on the government to immediately halt all transfers of asylum seekers to offshore detention centres until the report into allegations of sexual abuse on Nauru has been released. The Moss Inquiry report was provided to the Minister for Immigration and Border protection on February 9, but its findings have not been made public, and there has been no timeframe provided for its release.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released documents exposing the “appalling” extent of child self-harm in a Darwin detention centre on February 18. DASSAN obtained the documents via a Freedom of Information request, which took the department of immigration more than nine months to release. They detail 26 cases of self-harm by detained refugees aged 9 to 17 between August 2010 and November 2011. Spokesperson Fernanda Dahlstrom said the documents “concern one detention centre over a relatively short period of time”.
The Northern Territory’s peak doctors’ body says Darwin’s main hospital is struggling to cope with up to five refugees a day coming in for treatment for self-harm, mental illness and chronic anxiety. See also: The Northern Territory: Australia's refugee detention capital
An eight-day protest on the rooftop at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) in Darwin ended shortly before five refugees “locked themselves in a room … where one man took an overdose of sleeping pills while the other four began cutting themselves,” the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) said on November 2. Serco guards broke down the door and one man was taken to hospital. Two other refugees later tried to hang themselves.
Petty politicking over whether refugees should be illegally deported to Malaysia or to Nauru forced the Australian government to abandon its policy of “offshore processing” of refugees on October 13. Since the “Tampa election” in 2001, competition between the two main parties over who can most mistreat the small number of refugees arriving in Australia by boat has been at the centre of Australian electoral politics.
Federal immigration minister Chris Bowen announced plans for a new 1500-bed detention facility on March 3. It is to be located at Wickham Point, an industrial area 35 kilometres south-east of Darwin. The March 4 NT News said the Darwin Airport Lodge, which currently houses refugees, would also be expanded by 400 beds. This would bring Darwin’s total detention capacity to 2900, making the city the largest detention location on the mainland — larger even than the notoriously overcrowded Christmas Island facility.
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