Villawood Detention Centre

More than 200 detainees at detention centres in Villawood in Sydney and Maribyrnong in Melbourne, were on hunger strike for five days from January 15–19 in protest at visitor restrictions announced by Border Force.

Beginning January 22, visitors will have to give five days’ notice of any visit and fill in a five-page form, with actual visits restricted to one-on-one.

Visitors will be required to provide 100 points of identification.

Refugee activists have maintained watch at Villawood Detention Centre to stop the deportation of Saeed (not his real name), a 60-year-old Iraqi man, since March 22.

Through the hot days and cooler nights activists have been at each of Villawood’s three entrances, checked every leaving vehicle to see if Saeed is being deported and issued regular calls to action and updates on Facebook livestream in support of Saeed.

Anti-deportation activists were unable to stop the deportation of Tamil refugee Raj Kumar (not his real name) on August 31.

At short notice, refugee rights activists and members of the Tamil community gathered outside Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney to protest the deportation. An application for an interim ban on the deportation was filed but not heard in time to prevent the deportation.

A Tamil man in Villawood detention centre is facing imminent deportation to Sri Lanka today, Thursday 1 September.

At short notice, several refugee rights activists and members of the Tamil community gathered outside Villawood Detention Centre to protest the deportation this morning.

Lawyers have filed for an injunction in the courts, and are waiting for the verdict.

Raj Kumar (not his real name) is 46 year's old and has spent four years in detention.

Two of his brothers have been killed in Sri Lanka.

Iranian refugee Majid Rabet could not hold back his tears as he recounted the details of the suicide of his best friend, an Iraqi refugee, in Villawood Detention Centre.

“I was the first person who went in the bathroom and saw he hanged himself. I lifted him upwards to keep him alive, but he was already dead,” Majid said.

Staff at Villawood detention centre denied Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers the right to celebrate Persian New Year’s, a festival that has been celebrated for more than 3000 years, over the weekend beginning on March 21.

A group of 10 volunteers, including former inmates, were denied the right to take in food during the visit, which occurred during regular visiting hours.

The statement below was released by Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association on May 15. Jackson tried to visit Tamil refugees in Villawood detention centre, who have been given adverse security checks by ASIO and cannot be released from detention.

Jackson planned to present two men with Original Nation Passports, issued by elder Robbie Thorpe of the Treaty Republic, to let them know the local Aboriginal community welcomed them to Australia.

The situation inside every one of Australia’s refugee detention centres has grown dangerously volatile.

Just days after the Christmas Island breakout and subsequent protests, nine refugees climbed on the roof of a detention centre in Darwin after watching the assault of another refugee on March 15.

Two days later, a 20-year-old Afghan man hanged himself with a bedsheet at the Scherger detention centre after his refugee application was rejected.

Picture this: you drive past armed guards at the gate; then park your car next to a four-metre-high fence topped with electric wire.

As you enter the building you’re searched, your phone is confiscated, your details are noted, then you pass through metal detectors and are tagged with ultraviolet pens.

Once inside you find small children playing, and their families and friends, who have broken no laws. Surveillance cameras are ever-present and guards patrol the grounds.

The second suicide in little more than two months took place at Villawood detention centre on the night of November 15.

Ahmad Al Akabi, 41, was found by fellow detainees hanged in a bathroom.

After spending more than a year in the Christmas Island and Villawood detention centres, his asylum application had been rejected twice under the off-shore processing system that was found to be invalid in a recent High Court decision.

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