Women are reportedly giving birth in Darwin detention centres, before being forcibly deported to Manus Island and Christmas Island in the middle of the night.
There are no maternal or child health nurses, no maternity clothing and, according to the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network, some women are even forced to give birth while Serco guards watch. Women suffering miscarriages are “simply placed back into detention without any regard for their mental health”, it reports.
At Yongah Hill detention centre in Western Australia, more than a dozen detainees have escaped during breakouts on 22 January, 12 January, 27 December and 17 August. Some escapees have remained free for weeks at a time.
Resistance to mandatory detention should be celebrated and these refugees supported in whatever way possible.
Perth refugee activists describe the group of predominantly Vietnamese refugees, who are fleeing religious persecution, as highly organised and political. Hundreds of them have recently been transferred to Christmas Island; many are now locked in solitary confinement. Refugees have told activists that they have been outside their cells only four times in the space of a week.
But still they resist. Even before the Vietnamese arrivals, Christmas Island detention centre had weeks of protests, including hunger strikes. As these subsided, Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea erupted in a massive hunger strike on 5 February.