Yesterday, (17th of December 2020) Refugee detainees were transferred from their prison in Mantra Hotel to another #OzHotelPrison in The Park Hotel Melbourne. eX-detainees demand the immediate release of refugee detainees, along with state accountability and action for permanent protection and community settlement.
There are more than 50 Refugee detainees being held hostage within the City of Melbourne CBD (Carlton) in The Park Hotel Melbourne. RISE eX-detainees condemn the detention torture of these refugees on the premises of this hotel. Every one of them has been evacuated to Australia for medical treatment after being held hostage by the Australian government for almost a decade in PNG and Nauru. All of the detainees suffer from serious medical illnesses and most are immunocompromised. Report after report has confirmed that detention is injurious and sustains irrevocable injuries to those detained, both psychological and physical.
eX-detainees condemn the City Of Melbourne who claims to be a “Refugee Welcoming Zone” while allowing the Border Force to arbitrarily detain Refugees within their region. The track record of the City of Melbourne being a “refugee welcoming zone” continues to be a lie and devastating. We haven’t forgotten the City of Melbourne’s Multicultural hub was used as a immigration detention site, where families were trapped for hours in 2016 from 9am to around 2pm, in the Drill hall (https://www.riserefugee.org/50-asylum-seeker-families-trapped.) When RISE eX-detainees reached out to the City of Melbourne and raised our concerns about the suffering of our community members, they whitewashed these actions and provided excuses in return. Furthermore, when we requested that the City of Melbourne should become a Sanctuary City for refugees seeking asylum our request was dismissed.
Indefinite and arbitrary detention is a form of torture. Is the City of Melbourne supporting hospitality and accommodation services in its region or endorsing refugee detention torture services?
The City of Melbourne, City of Darebin and other local councils hyping themselves as “Refugee Welcome Zones” while also licencing businesses who profit from the detention of Refugees and/or allowing Australian Border Force to arbitrarily detain refugees in the region is inexcusable. This is white supremacist refugee practice in action – using sugar-coated, meaningless words to obscure the reality and effects of cruel policies of indefinite and arbitrary detention.
We continue to question why Refugees held for over 7 years in PNG and Nauru and subjected to horrific abuse which has been extensively documented by national and international human rights bodies as well as the UN – had to provide further proof by filling in extensive paperwork and seeking doctors and lawyers to prove that they needed to be evacuated to Australia. This is the reality of the Medivac Bill and its failures- and now we are living with the effects.
Hundreds of Refugees trafficked by the Australian government to Nauru and Manus are now living in limbo in onshore and offshore detention centres, community detention or on restrictive Australian bridging visas. When is this going to be over? They should ALL be given permanent settlement by the Australian government without further delay.
The eX-detainee community in Australia urges non-eX-detainee or non-detainee refugee advocates to stop continuously recommending harmful, ad hoc, piecemeal solutions for our community. This includes recommending insecure housing solutions or “release” into community detention or asking the government to release refugee detainees without pushing for long term, sustainable, systemic changes that benefit all members of the refugee community. We eX-detainees want freedom and sanctuary for our peers, not short term solutions that only lead to further discrimination and restrictions on our freedom and right to live. We know what we need, and yet our voices are too often ignored- and the Medivac Bill as just one prime example.
eX-detainees say, “Enough is Enough – Release All Our Community Members Now. Every Refugee detained in The Park Hotel Melbourne must be freed into the community immediately and given permanent settlement. They should also be given adequate short and long term support.”
‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ ; eX-detainee Team
This post was originally published on RISE.