ASRC welcomes the release of 26 Medevac refugees from the Park Hotel APOD and calls on Morrison Government to release all 200
20 January 2021
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) welcomes the release of 26 Medevac refugees today from the Park Hotel in Melbourne.
People were taken to the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MiTA) to collect property, and all have now been released into the community on a 6-month bridging visas with work rights and Medicare.
The ASRC has heard from the people still detained at the Park Hotel that 34 more have been told they will receive visas and be released tomorrow.
People were transferred under the Medevac laws in 2019 to access doctor recommended medical care for complex health conditions suffered due to long-term detention and medical neglect, and immediately detained upon arrival, largely in alternative places of detention (APODs).
That leaves around 140 people transferred under Medevac still held indefinitely in a network of detention facilities across Australia and continue to suffer deteriorating mental and physical health.
For the past year, medical and legal communities, as well as the Commonwealth Ombudsman, service organisations and community networks warned of COVID-19 health risks, harmful conditions and a severe lack of oversight into the care and treatment of refugees inside detention facilities.
Australian Border Force (ABF) forced 60 people detained at the Mantra APOD to transfer to the Park Hotel in Melbourne in December last year, amongst a large community and media presence at the sites.
People seeking asylum and refugees have been indefinitely detained by the Federal Government for more than seven years, while Australia’s human rights abusing asylum policies are internationally condemned.
The ASRC recognises that people who are released will have a range of short and long term needs. The ASRC will work with people in detention, sector partners and community advocates to ensure there are support networks in place for people being released from detention.
The ASRC has established a process to provide short term financial support to people as they are released while longer-term needs are understood.
ASRC CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis said:
“With great relief, we welcome the Morrison Government listening to the community and finally starting to release people from harmful indefinite detention.”
“The ASRC’s detention advocacy team have been supporting and advocating for people suffering chronic and complex medical conditions caused by the Morrison Government’s inhumane detention system.”
“People detained for seven years by the Government have suffered deteriorating health and unimaginable loss, yet have become a part of our community and have won tens of thousands of supporters in Australia who have called for their freedom. ”
Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero said: “Doctors, lawyers, service providers and the wider community have called for the release of Medevac refugees from harmful conditions in indefinite detention and today the Federal Government finally is listening to reason.”
“We call on the Government to immediately release all 200 people transferred under the Medevac laws, who came here to access proper medical treatment, so that they can recover their health safely in the community, where they are supported and welcomed.”
“The Morrison Government must reveal its plan for a permanent resettlement solution after seven years of abject policy failure, medical neglect and the loss of many lives under its shameful, inhumane offshore processing and indefinite detention policies.”
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