Refugee Action Coalition
More than 60 refugees and asylum seekers transferred to Australia from Manus and Nauru under the Medevac laws in 2019, and another nine who were brought by the Australian government in February 2020, after the Medevac laws were repealed, have written to the Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, to request that the Minister uses her discretionary powers to release them from closed detention.
Refugees and asylum seekers in Darwin, Melbourne, Adelaide and those formerly in Kangaroo Point signed the letter appealing to Minister Andrews.
After initial releases of more than 100 Medevac refugees in December and January, only one has been released since February.
In January, then Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, insisted that the Medevac refugees were being released as a ‘cost-saving measure’ because it was cheaper for refugees to live in the community.
As their letter to the Home Affairs minister states, “There is no difference between those who have been released and those of us who are still being held in detention.” But around 80 refugees transferred under the Medevac laws are still being held in detention centres and hotels around Australia.
Many have not received the medical treatment they were meant to receive in Australia. Refugees brought under the Medevac laws to be reunited with family members have not been re-united.
Neither Peter Dutton, nor current Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has explained why the government’s ‘cost-saving measures’ have stalled. The costs are mounting. Besides the cost of maintaining hotel-prisons in Darwin, Adelaide and Melbourne, the delay in releasing the remaining ‘transferees’ is increasing the refugees’ mental distress.
“There is no hope of recovery from the detention resignation syndrome as long they are kept in detention,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “They need freedom.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713