Fourteen refugees brought from Manus and Nauru under the Medevac legislation in 2019 have begun a hunger strike in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) detention centre.
The hunger strike began on Thursday night (17 June), and is now into the third day.
“Why is the government torturing us for nine years?” one of the MITA hunger strikers said, “We want to know what is different between us and the others [Medevac refugees] who were released six months ago?
“We can’t be in detention anymore.”
About 100 Medevac refugees were released into the community between December 2020 and February 2021, yet despite government announcements that all Medevac refugees would be released, none have been released since February. Around 90 Medevac refugees are still being held in hotels and detention centres in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
As well, there are people brought for medical treatment after the repeal of the Medevac legislation still held in closed detention in Sydney and Darwin, and Adelaide.
Two of the Medevac refugees who have been held in Melbourne hotel detention for the last two years, are flying from Sydney to the US tomorrow (Monday 21 June) to be resettled. But 33 remain in the Park hotel in Melbourne.
“All the Medevac refugees must be released,” said Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition, “In many cases, the government has not even provided medical treatment they were brought to Australia to receive. After detention on Manus and Nauru, and two years of detention in Australia, every day in detention worsens their mental distress. They need freedom.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713