Hunger strike underway at Villawood

September 21

A group of Iranian and Kurdish asylum seekers are staging a hunger strike at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre in protest against their possible deportation.

Refugee advocates say three of the 16 men were hospitalised on Tuesday afternoon, four days after they stopped eating in response to fears they would be sent home.

A Bankstown Hospital spokeswoman said the Iranian men were in a stable condition.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed the hunger strike was underway, and that the action was separate to a 30-hour roof-top protest at Villawood which ended on Tuesday evening.

A department spokesman would not confirm whether any of the 16 men had been hospitalised but did say they were receiving appropriate medical treatment and were being monitored.

“Their treatment care and medical advise is confidential,” the spokesman told AAP on Tuesday evening.

“Obviously, this has no effect on the outcome of their cases.”

Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition said the hunger strike had been running concurrently with the roof-top protest involving 11 asylum seekers at Villawood.

Some of that group had threatened to jump and kill themselves if the Immigration Department did not agree to review their refugee applications by 5pm (AEST) on Tuesday.

The standoff ended peacefully at 7.30pm after a tortuous 30 hours.

Mr Rintoul says both groups were protesting over the same issue.

“The root cause is … the lack of transparency and the fundamental flaws in the offshore refugee determination process and fear that they could be deported to Iran,” Mr Rintoul said.

“It is shocking that the government could consider deporting asylum seekers to Iran given the appalling human rights record of the Iranian government.”

This entry was posted in prisons, resistance and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.