The near-continuous introduction, change and reversal of several federal government policies on asylum seekers arriving by boat have had a severely damaging effect on refugees held in the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin. An Iranian man who arrived on Christmas Island just after the government announced it would “swap” 800 asylum seekers in Australia for 4000 refugees from Malaysia, said he was told every day he would be deported. “It was the worst two months of my life.”
About 120 refugee rights activists from multiple Australian cities gathered outside the Northern Territory’s parliament house in Darwin today to protest against mandatory detention and the three detention centres located around the region. The event kicked off protests that are taking place at the detention facilities over the Easter long weekend for the annual refugee convergence. Each year refugee activists gather at a place in Australia where refugees are held in remote or difficult-to-reach location.