A possie in Aussie

June 15, 2009

Do we still need to worry about immigration detention?

ABC Television’s Four Corners, in a report on the death of a man who died of  heat stroke after being carted through the desert in 40 degree-plus heat in a prisoner transport van, Detainee ‘forced to drink own urine’, reminds us of the suffering of asylum seekers detained under the Howard government, and left to the ‘mercies’ of the same private ‘security’ company.

In 2005 detainees on a long trip from Melbourne to South Australia, and the guards drove the first leg of the journey to South Australia non-stop for seven hours.

Four Corners reports:

None of the detainees was given food, and only two were given water.

“I felt quite appalled actually,” Mr Hamburger told Four Corners.

“I sat in the van. I talked to the staff that did the escort. I saw the CCTV footage. I was very shocked by the whole thing.”

One of the asylum seekers, now settled in Australia, describes for the first time the journey he endured.

“People was in the back shouting and crying and I was banging as well because I needed to go to the toilet,” he said.

“And they didn’t stop for anything. And I have to do it in the car.”

In 2002 Asia Human Rights News interviewed a detention centre guard who said:

“Basically there was crowd control, riot contract, which ended up being tear-gas sprayed into compounds that included cutting everyone to the ground — women and children — until basically no-one moved.

They were handcuffed, including women and children.

The children didn’t get separated or put in a safe space.

Everyone got tear-gassed, and little people were on the ground. AUSTRALIA: Ex-guard speaks on mass rights violations in immigration detention centres

I visited Baxter on quite a few occasions to support some Iraqi families there. Their treatment varied wildly, depending on which guards were on duty.

And there was nothing that they could do about ill-treatment, except to talk to visitors. It was clear that because they had no ‘voice’ in the Australian polity, the security company could do what they wanted with them. Do the detainees on Christmas Island have a voice?

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1 Comment »

  1. […] While he named the Keating Labor government for introducing the measure, he acknowledged that under his party treatment of asylum seekers and conditions of detention became much harsher. Do we still need to worry about immigration detention? […]

    Pingback by How much do they owe us for tormenting them? « A possie in Aussie — June 25, 2009 @ 7:59 am | Reply


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