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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rising tensions predicted in detention centre


A leader in Western Australia's Afghan Hazara community has warned tensions will continue to rise at the Curtin detention centre unless something is done soon.
A 20-year-old man from the Hazara minority is believed to have taken his own life at the centre in the state's far north after waiting months for his asylum application to be processed.
Mohammed Asif Atay was found dead in his room by friends at the centre yesterday.
He had been waiting for a decision on his asylum application for 10 months.
The ABC has been told security officers were driven back by angry Afghan inmates as they tried to retrieve the man's body.
The Immigration Department is rejecting allegations that guards were attacked.
Hazara leader Sajjad Hassini says mandatory detention is placing too much stress on asylum seekers.
"Everything has a limit, once it goes beyond the limit, it explodes so definitely it will go worse and worse," he said.
He believes the Federal Government is repeating the mistakes of the Howard era.
"I think this government is making the same mistake that John Howard committed in his term towards asylum seekers by pressurising psychologically to return to their home countries which is openly a violation of the United Nation's human rights charter," he said.
Refugee rights campaigner Marcus Hampson says long term mandatory detention is pushing detainees to the edge.
"What you're seeing is the self-harm and the suicide is people internalising their frustrations, internalising the sense of hopelessness and loss," he said.
Mr Hampson says mandatory detention has a huge impact on the mental health of detainees and the man's suicide, and his friends' reactions, illustrate its damaging effects.
The Department of Immigration has declined to comment on the circumstances of the man's death.
Refugee advocates are warning the rising tension at the centre could spill over into protest and unrest.

Source,

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/29/3177068.htm?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_content=news

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