Another Government forced transfer of people between interstate detention centres separating families and isolating people

Media Release
4 May 2021

The Government is reportedly planning to forcibly transfer 8 people seeking asylum from the Adelaide Immigration Transit Accommodation (AITA) to Melbourne by bus tomorrow morning.

Caseworkers believe the transfers will involve separation from immediate family members including children, and isolation from other support networks in the community that people in detention rely on for health and wellbeing.

People have been told they are likely going to the Melbourne Park Hotel Alternative Place of Detention (APOD), where there are currently 26 people seeking asylum detained.

The ASRC has heard from our clients that they were told by Australian Border Force (ABF) today that they are being moved to ‘make room for prisoners’.

This follows a similarly forced relocation of people seeking asylum in May, when 19 people detained at the Kangaroo Point APOD were moved to Brisbane migration Transit Accommodation, 17 of whom were later flown to Park Hotel APOD.

The 17 Medevac Refugees who were taken to Melbourne in May suffered their phones being confiscated and being placed in handcuffs during the flights.

The Government has not given a reason for the continuing detention or forced transfers of certain Medevac Refugees, since they began releasing people in small, arbitrary groups in December 2020.

And the Government still has no plan for people seeking asylum and refugees who have survived 8 years of indefinite detention, forced transfers, medical neglect, family separation, and deteriorating mental and physical health.

This move is another arbitrary and distressing turn for the Medevac refugees with no accountability from the Government and no reprieve from the harm of eight years of indefinite detention.

ASRC Detention Advocacy caseworker, Nina Field said: “Transferring people interstate away from support of family and friends contributes to a constant state of anxiety and intense distress that often leads to mental health incidents, in an environment where there no adequate emergency medical responses.”

“Case workers and lawyers are very worried about the increasing pressure on top of the heave toll of eight years of detention on people’s mental and physical health.”

“The Government needs to release people from indefinite detention so they can begin to recover their health in the community, where they can be supported and reunited with family and support networks.”

Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero said: “These recent transfers are yet another sign of the Government’s harmful and failing detention policies that put people who already at great mental health risk further in harm’s way by isolating them and taking away proximity to family and support networks.”

“The Government’s constant and unpredictable forced transfers indicate disorder, confusion and a lack of accountability for the impact on people’s health.”

“It’s time for the Government to admit to its failed policy and release and permanently resettle people and their families.”


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