Hungerstrike ended - now lets end mandatory and indefinite detention

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Saeed Hassanloo, an Iranian refugee on hunger strike for more than 40 days, has ended his strike and accepted medical care. However, he will continue to be held in indefinite detention in Australia. The policy of indefinite detention must stop.

Refugee support groups say that Saeed began the hunger-strike because of frustration with indefinite mandatory detention. His hunger strike may have ended, but his detention will not.

Saeed and his brother, apart from one year released in the community, have been detained in detention centres since they arrived in Australia seeking asylum. This is the official policy in Australia now - mandatory detention for all people arriving by boat and seeking refuge.

Since 2013 Australia has also practised mandatory exclusion and people arriving by boat are now detained in detention centres on either Nauru or Papua New Guinea.

For many of these people, detained either in Australia or in an Australian run detention centre overseas, once their refugee appeal is heard and judged they face more difficulties. If their claim for refugee status is declined, some people like Saeed and his brother, will remain in detention. They fear for their lives and want refuge, therefore they will not voluntarily return to their homeland but this means they must remain in detention. International law protects some people from being deported against their will (Iranians, for instance, cannot be involuntarily sent to Iran).

There is also another group who remain in mandatory indefinite detention. These are people who have been granted UN refugee status but then cannot be released from detention as they fail an ASIO (Australian State Intelligence Organisation) security clearance.

People without ASIO clearance will not be released into Australian territory even after having been accepted as refugees. Further, for security reasons they cannot be told why they cannot be released. In 2013 there were over 50 people (including children) trapped in this legal limbo, the group is now allegedly down to just over 30 people.

Australia must stop vilifying and dehumanising people seeking refuge.

Saeed's hunger-strike must not have been in vain.

We must find a way to open the detention centres and let people free.

Further information:
Tragedy avoided but minister must release Saeed and all those indefinitely detained
What has led Saeed Hassanloo to the brink of death
Refugees in Indefinite Detention
Australia urged to allow refugees to appeal ASIO ruling
FKAG et al v Australia (HRC, 2013)
Indefinite Detention a Travesty - Priest

Also search 'asylum' and 'refugee' in Indymedia, and visit Doing Our Bit.

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