21 January 2021
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) welcomes the release of around 20 more Medevac refugees from the Park Hotel in Melbourne Alternative Place of Detention (APOD), following the 26 released yesterday.
Australian Border Force took people from the Park Hotel to Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) first to collect their property before their release into accommodation in the community.
However, 14 people still arbitrarily remain in detention at the Park Hotel APOD, and the over 100 people are still held indefinitely in a network of detention facilities across Australia and continue to suffer deteriorating mental and physical health.
ASRC is part of Time for a Home Coalition of 136 organisations, calling on the Morrison Government to release all people they detained upon their arrival in Australia for medical treatment so they can access community support and independent medical care to recover their health.
Furthermore, 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.
Carolyn Graydon, Principal Solicitor and Manager Human Rights Law Program at the ASRC said: “The secrecy surrounding decisions to release or not is not only bad for the people who remain in detention, but it is also bad for the rule of law and highlights the arbitrariness of the Government’s treatment of this group of refugees.”
“The lack of any explanation as to why some people are being released and not others highlights the arbitrary approach which the Department and Minister continue to take regarding this group of refugees and people seeking asylum.”
Nina Field, ASRC detention advocacy caseworker said: “the people who have been left behind at the Park Hotel and other detention facilities around the country are experiencing intense uncertainty and high levels of distress as they watch their friends being released after 7 years .”
“We are extremely worried that they still do not have proper medical support to get through this. The Government must release everyone to protect their mental health.”
Betelhem Tebubu, human rights activist and survivor of Offshore Processing on Nauru said: “Finally the Government is giving freedom to people in the hotel prisons, they need to be with the community to recover their health.
“We are all on short bridging visas, without a home for over seven years now. We all who lost too many years of our lives to detention and temporary visas need a permanent home so we can start a new life as free people and live our dreams.”
Farhad Bandesh, artist, musician and human rights activist formerly detained on Manus and MITA said: “I cannot describe how happy I am feeling for my brothers getting their freedom afterwards such a long time.”
“I was released a few weeks ago after seven and half years of detention? I survived Manus, we lost 13 brothers and experienced so much trauma and pain.”
“Now I have been embraced by so many friends in Melbourne, I feel so much love, I am staying in county VIC with friends. This is what I want for sisters and brothers seeking asylum, we need a permanent home now, not temporary visas.”
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