Message from Curtin hunger striker as protests spread

This message was conveyed to the Refugee Action Coalition by a hunger strike inside Curtin detention centre. 1500 mostly Afghan refugees are detaineed in Curtin detention centre. 300 of them are now on hunger strike, demanding that refugee activists who have bused in from Perth and elsewhere be allowed into the detention centre. Below is also a media release from RAC about their Curtin visit and the decision of Immigration officials to completely ban one activist, Jemima Mowbray, from visiting detainees.

I want to confirm you that today the people who wanted to come and
visit us in Curtin Detention Center they have stoped by Serco and
Immigration 2 Kilo Metres away from us we cant see them and they cant
see us as well ,
Curtin Detention Center has two gates, One is 2 kilo metres away and
one of the gate is intry gate , They have stoped in the first gate
they cant come in,
Now 200 people are in Hanger Strike, it’s going to be more, The people
are coming still to set infront the Immigration’s building maybe it
become more than 500 Handred people
this strike is why they have stoped the visiter people , We need to
say our pain for them but they stoped them ,
Please pass this my email to the News ane Magazines , The people
should hear our voice that how we are passing hardly our lifes in
Detention Center ,
But no body care about us
I myself it’s more than 14 months that I’m still in Detention Center ,
Why they have stoped us here with out any fault?
Am I a killer or am I a criminel that they stoped me in Prison?
There is no one in whole Australia to understand us?
We were seeking Asylem not Prison
Please pass it to all Australian news
thanks with the best wishes
your cincerly


A hunger strike and sit-in involving 300 and more asylum seekers at
Curtin detention centre is expected to escalate overnight. The asylum
seekers are asking that they be allowed to see refugee supporters who
have travelled from Perth and cities to see them over the Easter
weekend. Already hundreds of asylum seekers have asked Serco if they can meet
the refugee activists.

The sit in near the main gate of the detention centre is surrounded by
placards and slogans written on sheets saying, “Where are our human
rights,” “Why are we waiting so long,” “Stop the persecution,” and
“Civilised people of Australia, please help.”
The protest began on Saturday morning over asylum seekers’ concerns
that the Serco management of the detention centre would move to
prevent refugee supporters from visiting them over the Easter weekend.
Around 60 refugee supporters, including a bus of 50 activists from
Perth, have travelled across Australia to visit the detention centre.

Tensions have grown since Serco has ignored a letter, asking that a
delegation from the convergence of refugee supported be allowed into
the main detention centre to meet asylum seekers and see the
conditions “where we live”. The letter was signed by 700 asylum seekers and
handed to Serco management on Thursday 21 April.
Serco has insisted that only one-on-one visits will be allowed, an
arrangement that will only allow about 50 asylum seekers to see a

The refugee convergence will back the asylum seekers protest and push
for a delegation to meet the asylum seekers inside the detention
centre when they rally at the gate of the detention centre on Sunday
morning (24 April).

Late Saturday night, asylum seekers had rejected a Serco proposal that
asylum seekers meet a delegation of refugee supporters outside the
detention centre, insisting that a delegation of refugee supporters
must be allowed to visit them inside the detention centre.

The unrest has been growing inside the detention centre since the
suicide of a young Afghan asylum seeker at the centre a few weeks ago.
Over 1000 of the almost 1500 asylum seekers at Curtin have had their
initial refugee application rejected. Others are still waiting for
ASIO security clearances after 20 months.

“The frustration at Curtin is the same as that which has exploded at
Christmas Island and Villawood in the last few weeks. Mandatory and
long term detention has created a tinder box of despair inside the
detention centres,”  said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee
Action Coalition, “After a recent hunger strike at Curtin involving
over 1000 asylum seekers were told that their claims would be
processed quickly. But the immigration department has reneged on its

“Given the events at Villawood, the department is playing a risky game
with refugee rights at Curtin.”

Refugee supporter banned from Curtin
Meanwhile, in an astonishing display of political arrogance, late
Saturday afternoon (23 April), Serco management, under instructions
from Immigration bosses at the centre, banned Jemima Mowbray, a Sydney
member of the Refugee Action Coalition from any further visits to
asylum seekers there.

Jemima was accused of making unspecified suggestions to asylum seekers
of actions that might seekers might take in the detention centre.  The
Serco manager who delivered the banning order on behalf of the
Immigration department was unable to specify any concrete suggestion
that Jemima had made.
“It is a complete abuse of their sweeping bureaucratic power, “said
Ian Rintoul, “but it is entirely symptomatic of the mentality of the
department and the Serco management, that rides roughshod over the
human rights of asylum seekers.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


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