Villawood : Cui bono?

The death of a prisoner at Villawood detention centre is further Bad News for Serco Australia Pty Ltd, the joint venture and local franchise of the multi-billion dollar Serco Group (UK) and Sodexo (France). Well, presumably — who knows? One of the bestest things about the state contracting foreign corporations to run Australian prisons is the extra layer of bureaucracy that comes between the public and accurate infos regarding what’s going on inside, so precisely how much death and injury affects profitability — and how much a human life is worth — is difficult to ascertain. Presumably, the corporation responsible will be financially penalised if judged to be negligent in the execution of its duty-of-care.

Like how Connex got fined if trains ran late and stuff.

Anyway, money talks, bullshit walks, and here’s a press release from RISE.

Media release
Monday, 20 September 2010 at 17:58

There are seven detainees on the roof right now, in Villawood Detention Centre. Ramesh Fernandez CEO and Ex-detainee from RISE has spoken to these men and they have told him that they will jump off the roof if no resolution is given.

This morning, a Fijian detainee of Villawood immigration detention centre committed suicide. He threw himself off one of the detention centre buildings after being told that he was going to be deported back to his country. Immediately after the incident, one of his relatives, also a detainee in Villawood, was placed in isolation and had his mobile phone confiscated.

The detainees of Villawood are extremely distressed and agitated by this incident and are fasting today to honour the memory of someone they consider one of their own. The situation at the detention centre is tense and chaotic as media and police swarm the facility and detainees are being chased to their rooms by Serco.

There are reports that immigration officials, interpreters and mental health professionals in the building are not making much effort to help the asylum detainees who are already traumatized by their own asylum seeking experiences. An asylum seeker at the detention centre says, “I don’t know what to do now and I’m scared to leave my room”. He adds that all the detainees were approached last Thursday and asked to go back to their country by the Department of Immigration.

CEO and Ex-detainee of RISE Ramesh Fernandez says “Neither the Australian government or Department of Immigration can bring his life back now, this is [a] perfect example of Department and authorities’ insensitive and destructive actions in the handling of asylum seekers”. We are receiving these reports from asylum seekers in Villawood detention centre and if these facts can be confirmed, the administrators of Villawood detention centre and those dealing with the immigration matters of these detainees will have to be held accountable.

A refugee who has asked Australia, a signatory of the Refugee Convention, to grant him the right to live free from the fear of persecution, is now dead because Australia has refused him this right. Mr Fernandez further adds, “We didn’t come to this country to die, we are here to seek protection, not detention or being driven to take our own lives behind the wire fences”.

We ask that this issue be resolved in a humanitarian way and call upon every individual to help us send a clear message to those governing Australia that our new government should be one that governs with a conscience.


RISE Admin Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees
Level 3, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Dunno. Maybe an RMIT Yoof Work student could be sent to Villawood to negotiate?

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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