CANBERRA, July 5 (Bernama) — Tensions are rising alarmingly inside Darwin’s Northern Immigration Detention Facility in Australian as five detainees have attempted suicide over the last week, reports Xinhua news agency.
The fifth detainee harmed himself at the center on Monday night, refugee advocates said on Tuesday. The man, believed to be from Afghanistan, received emergency treatment about 10:00 p.m. (AEST) on Monday.
ABC News quoted Asylum Seeker Support Network spokesman Carl O’ Connor as saying Tuesday that there has been a number of self-harm attempts, a number of people have been on hunger strikes, there was a large sit-down protest. A number of people have gotten up onto the roof of the centre to protest.
“The Department needs to urgently move some of these men out of detention and into the community or process their claims quickl,” O’Connor said.
Australia has been facing overcrowding problem in immigration detention centers, due to the large amount of boat arrival in Australian waters.
There have also been a number of wide-spread protests inside the centers across Australia in the past few months, as detainees are unsatisfied with the delay of their refugee status processing.
O’Connor said the people involved in the protests and incidents of self-harm have been in immigration detention for up to two years.
He said their mental state when they arrive in Australia is not good, and to be forced into immigration detention for close to two years will only make that worse.
“Detainees don’t have a great deal of complaints about the conditions as such in terms of the food or the accommodation,” O’ Connor said. “It’s the fact that they are detained in immigration for long periods of time for no apparent reason.”
The incidents of self-harm started last week when Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was visiting Darwin Immigration Centre.