4 refugees released from immigration detention as pressure mounts on Morrison Government to release the remaining 70

Media Release
16 December 2021

Today, 2 refugees who came to Australia for medical treatment have been released from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Authority (BITA) after over 8 years in detention, following the release of 2 refugees from the Park Hotel Alternative Place of Detention in Melbourne on Sunday, December 12.

The 4 refugees released over the previous week will join 188 refugees who have been released from detention since December 2020.

These releases are welcomed by the Time for a Home alliance, of 140 organisations and community networks, due to the severe mental and physical health risks immigration detention poses to refugees arbitrarily held against their will.

However, the Morrison Government, despite the community pressure and the immediate risks posed to refugees, has not released the remaining 70 refugees still held in detention.

With refugees moved to Australia for medical treatment subjected to over 8 years of failed policy the Morrison Government must immediately release refugees held in detention and provide a permanent resettlement plan.

Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) said: “It is clear that the Morrison Government currently has no clear policy concerning refugees who came to Australia for medical treatment. It is clear that arbitrary and indefinite detention is harmful and a failed policy, which is why we have seen the release of nearly 200 people from these conditions. However the sporadic and flippant nature of these releases, the lack of support provided to people when they leave and the fact that 70 people are still held against their will is an indictment on the Morrison Government.”

Thanush Selvarasa, human rights activist, current ASRC human rights intern and refugee detained in PNG, MITA and the Mantra Hotel Melbourne, was released 28 Jan 2021, said: “It is a good beginning. To hear my friends are released from detention and that their suffering is going to end, this is good news. They spent 8 years in detention. But they need to be released with a permanent resettlement plan, not a temporary visa. Their pain in detention is over but the temporary visa is a different sort of struggle.”

Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition said: “One of the cruellest things the government has done is to separate the family members of refugees brought from offshore. Finally an old man and his son who were brought from Nauru two years ago are able to join their wife and mother who is living in the community in Australia. Seventy other refugees are still being held in Australian detention centres and hotel-prisons for no reason. They should be freed.”



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

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