Fijian deportee stages roof top protest: lawyer criticises lack of police negotiators

Three asylum seekers, including a female Fijian asylum seeker, scheduled for deportation today, has taken to the roof of a building at Villawood detention centre in last desperate attempt to prevent the woman’s removal. The three climbed onto the roof around 7.00am this morning when guards came to take the Fijian woman to the airport.

Her husband who is scheduled for removal tomorrow, Tuesday, is still in the Villawood detention centre.

The situation is tragically similar to the situation in September 2010, when another Fijian man, Josepha Raulini, jumped to his death from the roof of a building in the Villawood compound.

The situation in Villawood is being managed by Serco who have closed off the building and placed mattresses around its base in case anyone jumps. No police are in attendance.

Geroge Newhouse, of Shine lawyers, has criticized the failure of police to attend the Villawood situation, “Two coronial enquiries have indicated a need for trained police negotiators in such situations – the Raulini case and the Tanganoa case in Melbourne several years ago.”

“The Immigration Department should withdraw the removal notice for both the wife and husband,” said Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition. “That is the first step to de-escalate the situation and remove the threat of forcible removal.”

Refugee rights activists will rally outside the detention centre in support this evening from 6pm. Urgent steps are underway to gain an injunction to prevent the removal, but it is unclear whether this can be organised before the Immigration Department acts to carry out their deportation.

For more information contact George Newhouse, Shine Lawyers 0422 255 109, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713