I have just spent the weekend at the vigil outside the MITA detention centre in Broadmeadows. Twenty seven refugees face their eighth day without food. They’ve politely asked the Australian government to free them or kill them.
Statement from the hunger strikers at the MITA detention centre in Broadmeadows, Melbourne:
MESSAGE FROM THE ASIO REJECTED REFUGEES AT MITA, MELBOURNE:
We are 30 people here – 25 Tamils, 2 Tamil Muslims, two Burmese and one Iranian. We have been here for three and four years. We cannot tolerate it any longer. We need to be released to save our lives.
At 2 a.m. today (Monday, April 8, 2013) we began a hunger strike together. All 30 of us plan to keep doing this until there is solution, one way or the other.
We will gather together in the grounds of the detention centre and stay there until we get a solution. If the Australian Government does not release us, we ask that they kill us mercifully.
We have painted banners as part of our protest. There is one that shows many people hanging. That is what we want to happen to us if we are not released.
People in here are jumping off the roof, they are going on hunger strikes, they are taking tablets, they are trying to hang themselves. It is a cruel and inhumane environment for everyone.
We plead with you, the Australian people, to help us. We are on the edge of life and don’t know how much longer we can stand it.
We ask Prime Minister Gillard, Immigration Minister O’Connor, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus Opposition leader Abbott and ASIO director David Irvine to stop this torture of all of us… of men, women and children, who have done nothing to warrant this cruel treatment that is destroying our minds.
We ask the authorities: You say we are a threat to this nation. So if we are such people why have they now put women and children and families in here with us? We are willing to be released into the community under strict orders if they think we are threats, which we aren’t. But whatever they want we will do.
But we can’t keep living like this. We are not in detention. We are in a cemetery. We don’t want to die. We left Sri Lanka because we fear to die. We came to Australia to live, not die. But death would be better than the life we have.
ASIO REJECTED REFUGEES.
Campaign Blog: MITA Hunger Strike
ABC Radio, Hunger striking Tamil refugee says he’s afraid to die
Jeff Sparrow at The Drum, Australia’s Guantanamo isn’t offshore: it’s in Melbourne
Ongoing, 6:30pm Nightly Vigils in solidarity with MITA hunger strike
April 16, 11:00am, Protest outside Brendan O’Conner’s Office (immigration minister)
April 28, 1:00pm, Protest at Broadmeadows Detention Centre (in solidarity with the National Convergence)