6 refugees released from immigration detention, as Morrison Government fails to release remaining 75

Media Release
1 December 2021

Five refugees held at the Park Hotel Alternative Place of Detention (APOD), Melbourne and 1 from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA) are likely to be released today, after over 8 years of arbitrary detention.

The people released will join over 180 other refugees, who were also transferred to Australia for medical treatment from PNG and Nauru, released into the community over the past year.

Being released will ensure that people no longer suffer under the physical and mental health impact of indefinite detention or the risk of contracting COVID-19 in detention centres.

However, the Morrison Government has not released and continues to arbitrarily detain an estimated 75 refugees held in Australia’s network of onshore immigration detention centres.

No reasons have been provided as to why 75 refugees remain in detention when over 180 refugees have been released into the community.

The Time for a Home alliance calls on the Morrison Government to immediately release all refugees and people seeking asylum from immigration detention and provide a permanent resettlement plan for refugees when released.

Thanush Selvarasa, human rights activist, current ASRC human rights intern and refugee detained on Manus Island, PNG, MITA and the Mantra Hotel Melbourne, was released 28 Jan 2021: “Today 6 of my friends were released from detention after 8 years of detention. This victory belongs to people in detention for keeping their hope and it belongs to those people who continuously work for our freedom, we won’t forget your help until our last breath.”

Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) said: “Every day a refugee or person seeking asylum remains in detention is a day the Morrison Government has failed to act. With 180 refugees from detention since December last year, we know it is a choice to keep the remaining 75 locked up, a choice that puts lives at risk.”

​​Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition said: “The government cannot explain why some people are released while others remain in detention – 75 people are being held at the whim of the government.  After six years in PNG or Nauru and now two more years in detention in Australia, they are held hostage to the government’s offshore detention policy. It is time they were all freed.”

Marie Hapke, Australian Refugee Action Network (ARAN) said: “There is no justification for the ongoing detention of people who sought safety and protection in Australia over 8 years ago. All those who remain in immigration detention need to be released to freedom in the community, have their claims for refugee status assessed fairly and quickly, and provided permanent visas, so they can live with dignity and become contributing members of our communities.”

Dr Graham Thom, refugee adviser for Amnesty International Australia, said: “We are so pleased for those released today, but it’s incomprehensibly cruel to pick some people arbitrarily for release – people who have already been through terrible experiences just to get to safety, while leaving others in the limbo of Australia’s refugee detention system. Can you imagine what that would do to you to be waiting, seeing others go and yet you remain, for no practical reason anyone can give?”

“There really is no excuse left – every single person transferred back to Australia for medical treatment, still detained, must be released immediately.”


Media contact: Sam Brennan 0428 973 324 or sam.b4@asrc.org.au

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