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NO-ONE CHOOSES TO BE AN ASYLUM SEEKER. “I take seriously my role as an elder in my community and on my land. We would not deal with young people in this.

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Presentation on theme: "NO-ONE CHOOSES TO BE AN ASYLUM SEEKER. “I take seriously my role as an elder in my community and on my land. We would not deal with young people in this."— Presentation transcript:


2 “I take seriously my role as an elder in my community and on my land. We would not deal with young people in this way. If I had my way there would be a traditional welcome to country and teaching.....These young people have done nothing wrong. They are being punished rather than treated with compassion June Mills, Larrakia Elder



5 Insert amnesty clip

6 In Australia there are 6758 people in detention. More than 1000 of these are children The majority have been in detention for more than 6 months Some people have been locked up for more than two years Based on current statistics, 96% of asylum seekers in detention will have their refugee status approved DIAC statistics Feb 2011

7 In Darwin, there are more than 1000 people (numbers change daily) – more than a third of these are children. There are 3 detention centres – the NIDC ( adult men) and two APODs ( alternative places of detention) – the ASTI motel and the Darwin Airport Lodge ( for children and families) The APODs are alternative in name only : the Darwin Airport Lodge consists of demountable buildings and they have security around them, they have security guards. The hotel proprietor pays for the bills, etcetera, so that all gets build into the cost. They are, for all intents and purposes, detention centres,. Chris Bowen ABC radio, 15/2/11

8 Electrified fence Northern Immigration Detention Centre, Stuart Highway

9 The ASTI motel

10 Darwin Airport Lodge

11 There are 400 more beds being built at the airport lodge There is a 1500 bed detention centre being built at Wickham Point. Darwin is being called the detention capital of Australia


13 When people come here applying for refugee status, 50% of applications are approved at an initial interview. Many wait for up to 14 months for an independent review of that decision. At the Independent Review, 96% of people have their claims approved and are found to be genuine refugees

14 Then, many of them have to wait up to another 14 months, in detention, as genuine refugees, for a security clearance. In October last year, 330 asylum seekers who arrived by boat were stuck in detention, waiting for an ASIO assessment. Today, it is nearly 1000. One (common) story : I visit a family who have been in detention for over 14 months, a mother and her three children, under the age of nine - three kids under the age of nine, with their mother, being held in detention indefinitely now, despite the fact that they've been assessed as in being in genuine need of protection. They are refugees and yet we're keeping them locked up.

15 Children in detention 1084 children remain in detention despite the Governments commitment to move all children out of detention by June this year

16 The numbers continue to rise every day. Today there are: 1084 children in detention. 456 of these are unaccompanied minors – without adult family. Many of these are here in Darwin

17 Kanishkas story ….

18 About working with children in detention – a story from Saraswathi Ive got a six-year-old son and if I wasnt here I would hope that somebody out there would do something to protect his interests and his rights

19 The move to community detention In October last year we welcomed the Ministers announcement that children and vulnerable families would be moved out of detention by June this year. There are still more than 1000 children in detention.

20 I am a Hazara young man, from Afghanistan. I am scared and confused. I cannot sleep and have headaches all the time. Sometimes I self-harm. I left my Family at age 11. Before leaving my Family, I used to practise as an artist and wanted to be an accomplished artist. I had not painted until a volunteer brought me some paints about 1 month ago. I am constantly worried and nervous. I had an interview about my application last week and await an outcome. Although I hear that unaccompanied minors will be released into the community, we are told it would not affect us till June next year. Anything can happen in that time. I so badly want to be outside, seeing how people live. I want to learn to live again. Being detained is unbearable. I hope that you will take my message to your leaders. September 2010 - Hazara boy in detention ( still in detention today)

21 Taking action

22 What can you do? WHAT CAN YOU DO? - Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT): one story of taking action

23 LEARN MORE - ASRC, RCOA, AMNESTY, DASSAN INFORM YOUR ORGANISATION JOIN WITH OTHERS OFFER SUPPORT AND……? Share with others on your table one thing you could do on this issue.

24 We do not need to be protected from asylum seekers: they need to be protected from their persecutors. Australians are capable of much greater generosity and compassion ….. We can see that the tiny group of people who manage to get here are people with courage and initiative, fleeing in fear and asking for our protection. Julian Burnside, Human Rights Lawyer


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