April 25, 2013
Two people tried to commit suicide within two hours of each other at the Broadmeadows detention centre on Wednesday.
One was a 17-year-old boy, who attempted suicide at the centre about 3.30pm. His condition was unclear late on Wednesday, with asylum seekers reporting an ambulance was on scene treating the boy.
Pamela Curr, from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said the other asylum seeker was a Hazara man in his 20s, who has been given a positive refugee determination and has cleared pre-release security checks.
She said despite this, the man – and four others in his position – had been waiting five months for release into the community.
In desperation, he reportedly tried to kill himself about 2pm on Wednesday.
”The men apparently believe the only way to get out [of detention] is to hurt themselves,” Ms Curr said.
”They’ve seen three people released recently who did just that. And despite other asylum seekers and refugee advocates telling them that’s not the way, that’s not what they’re seeing with their own eyes.”
She said Victorian immigration authorities had lobbied their federal counterparts on behalf of the men, but had not had any response.
It’s believed the 17-year-old was an Iraqi national who had arrived after the rules changed on August 13, when processing of asylum seekers was frozen under ”no advantage” rules designed to deter asylum seekers from getting on boats for Australia. Under those rules, asylum seekers who arrived in Australian territories by boat will be expected to wait as long for a positive refugee determination as those who sought a visa offshore, the government says.
Ms Curr said the boy was in a fragile mental state.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre called for a Royal Commission into Australia’s immigration detention network.
Meanwhile, Australian authorities said on Wednesday they had intercepted two more suspected asylum seeker boats with 175 people on board.
The first, with 107 people, was spotted near Cocos (Keeling) Island and the other was intercepted north-east of Darwin.
* For help or information visit beyondblue.org.au, call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251, or Lifeline on 131 114.
with Daniel Flitto