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Refugee Action Coalition MEDIA RELEASE (02 March 2021) The government’s capricious and chaotic release of refugees continues. Following the release of Medevac refugees in Brisbane, yesterday and today (1 and 2 March), the government is releasing a number of refugees from Nauru who were transferred after the Medevac laws were repealed. In Darwin, a family of four, who were transferred from Nauru for medical treatment in February 2020 will be flown to Brisbane and ‘freed’ on bridging visas this afternoon, Tuesday 2 March. Their release, however, leaves eleven others in the Darwin hotel prison wondering if they will ever be freed.

In Sydney, 15 refugees transferred from Nauru in January 2021, have also been released on bridging visas, today, 2 March. The releases raise more questions regarding the government’s discriminatory policy and lack of transparency. Why are only some refugees brought from Nauru for medical treatment more than a year ago, being released on the same day as others who were brought from Nauru six weeks ago? Why is Saif, the Somali refugee brought from Nauru to be with his family, still in BITA, still separated from his wife and son? Why are there still 13 refugees in the Park hotel, when the other refugees in the hotel were released in January? “What possible reason can there be to continue to hold any ex-Nauru refugees in Darwin? The selective releases only adds to the anxiety of those left behind, in detention. All of them must be freed,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “But the government is releasing them into uncertainty and destitution. Those being released on bridging visas are expected to find work to support themselves. “Not only are there no jobs, the government has made sure that many are unable to work because they have been robbed of their mental and physical health by eight years in detention,” said Rintoul. “The government knows that they cannot send the refugees to their home countries and they cannot send them back to Nauru or PNG. They are effectively being settled in the Australian community but are being deprived of the certainty and support they need." Rallies calling for freedom and permanent visas for all refugees will be held in Melbourne and Brisbane, Friday 5 March, with actions also being held in Darwin, Perth and Adelaide, outside hotel-prisons still holding Medevac refugees.

For more information about this press release contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


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