Today on Socialist Alternative, my article ‘ASIO checks destroy refugee lives’ appears:
At 1am on 14 May, I received a text message informing me that another refugee had attempted suicide inside Broadmeadows detention centre. It was the third attempt this month; another stark reminder of the effect mandatory detention has on refugees.
Jasee, a Tamil refugee, tried to hang himself after viewing a Mother’s Day special on TV. It had reminded him of his mum, who died during the civil war in Sri Lanka. He was 13 at the time.
One of the asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking in 2009, he remains in detention today even though he has been recognised as a refugee by the Department of Immigration. Like more than 55 other refugees, negative ASIO security checks condemn him to a life of indefinite detention. He is stuck in legal limbo. His refugee status and legitimate fear of torture or death if returned to Sri Lanka mean he cannot be deported. Yet the Immigration Department refuses to release refugees that have been condemned by ASIO’s secretive process of security checks and “character assessments”.
On Friday, the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) – which I’m apart of – will be holding an action outside the Department of Immigration demanding an end to indefinite detention and an end to ASIO security checks. See Facebook for more details.