A possie in Aussie

January 26, 2010

Mobiles suddenly banned on Christmas Island? How you can help

My friend Michelle who is supporting detainees on Christmas Island sent this email today: (To see how you can help, see end of post).

In recent weeks, detainees been told they are no longer allowed to have mobile phones. As one detainee explained to me, “an immigration officer told me this is the new rule of immigration”. Phones that have been sent to the centre by well-wishers are now being kept in the properties department upon arrival. Detainees are then notified that the phone has arrived but they cannot have it.

Mobile phones inside the detention centre have not been an issue until now. As long as the mobile phones have no camera and are security cleared by Serco when they are sent in, it is not a problem. Several detainees currently have phones that were sent in before the “new
rule”. They have not been confiscated but once those phones leave the centre no more will be allowed in.

Not only is this ban on mobiles unfair to Christmas Island detainees, who have been sent phones from friends, advocates and relatives on the mainland, it symbolises how asylum seekers who arrive by boat in an excised territory and then detained in an island maximum security centre are treated as second class asylum seekers with lesser rights than those
that arrive by air.

Mainland detainees are allowed mobile phones. Why should it be any different on Christmas Island?

I have written to the Department asking the reasoning behind this “new rule” but am yet to receive a response.  Please write to the Department, express your disappointment in this new rule and ask why should the mobile phone policy on Christmas Island be any different to mainland detention centres.
All emails should be sent to Mr Bob Correll who is one of DIACs Deputy Secretaries and deals with Christmas Island detention at:
Bob.Correll@immi.gov.au
All emails should be cc’d to DIAC’s Secretary Mr Andrew Metcalfe at this address:
Andrew.Metcalfe@immi.gov.au
Other ways to help:

There are plenty of asylum seekers who need penfriends. Please contact Lisa Hartley at letters@asylumseekerschristmasisland.com if you would like to be involved.

We are still desperate for reading material and DVDs in Dari, Farsi, Arabic, Indonesian, Tamil, Vietnamese and Burmese.

Feel free to send pens to ACSI or asylum seekers on the island as well seeing Serco is
now making detainees purchase them from the canteen rather than supplying them.

There is a great article in today’s Australian you should all check out by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/fine-words-but-no-action-on-christmas-island/story-e6frg6zo-1225823063217

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