The Villawood hunger strike has dramatically escalated today (Friday)

with more than 100 people, a majority of the detainees, across all

nationalities, joining the protest. Reports from inside Villawood

indicate that almost no-one went to the dining area today.

Meanwhile another Chinese hunger strike was taken to hospital around

2.30pm Saturday with grave fears that his sight may be permanently


The man in his early 40s is a diabetic and has been on hunger strike for

nine days since the Villawood protest began following the deportation of

Chinese woman on Wednesday 28 March.

Detainees said that the man was unable to see when he was taken from the

detention centre.

Anxiety levels inside Villawood have risen sharply with large numbers of

police maintaining an obvious presence throughout the detention centre.

A high wire fence mounted in concrete

footings has been erected around the detention centre and water filled

barricades placed at the main entrance and the roadway leading into the

detention centre.

There is an undeclared state of emergency inside Villawood, said Ian

Rintoul. It is a ridiculous waste of money and a thoughtless,

vindictive act by the Immigration department. The Immigration department

is trying to intimidate the asylum seekers and isolate the hunger

strikers, but their plan is badly backfiring.

There is a feeling that Australian people do care and will hear their

voice across the wire fences. Thats why more people are joining the

hunger strike protest, said Ian Rintoul.

Easter is always a stark reminder of the values espoused by the

Coalition government, and the hypocrisy of the government Ministers.

While many of them will go to church services where the message is one

of hope, compassion and reconciliation. Yet inside the detention centres

the government spreads despair.

The asylum seekers want to hear from the Immigration department. Is the

Minister listening or is he turning a deaf ear to the appeals to stand

up for human rights and stop long term detention and stop the

deportations to China?

Refugee supporters and others will hold a protest at Kirribilli House on

Easter Sunday, 8 April, assembling at 12.00 at Bradfield Park before

marching to the Prime Ministers residence.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


Refugee Action Collective - Victoria

1 comment:

Ana said...

Last Update: Sunday, April 8, 2007. 4:30pm (AEST)
The Villawood inmates are reportedly protesting against the deportation of a Chinese woman.

The Villawood inmates are reportedly protesting against the deportation of a Chinese woman.

100 Villawood detainees on hunger strike, advocates say

Refugee advocates says more than 100 people at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre are now on a hunger strike.

The Immigration Department disputes the numbers involved, with a spokeswoman saying eight people are refusing food but are still taking fluids.

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition says the inmates are staging the protest over the recent deportation of a Chinese woman.

He says they are very worried about what will happen to the Chinese detainees when they are sent back to their country.

"Most of the people who have been deported are among the group of Chinese that were interviewed by Chinese Government officials in 2005, so they are particularly vulnerable," he said.

"The Chinese Government has got all the details they have, and they have got them courtesy of the Australian Government inviting them into the detention centre."

Mr Rintoul says the inmates are desperate to be heard.

"I think it's a measure of the desperation - what the people say to us is that they face a much worse fate if they are returned to China," he said.

"They even say they would rather die here, fighting against being deported, than to be sent back to face what will happen to them at the hands of the Chinese authorities."