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Please take urgent action

Email your Premier and Health Minister

COVID-19: people in detention are at high risk of infection

If your email does not open then copy the sample email from the bottom of this page.

Phone the key Decision Makers

  • The Federal Minister for Health    

  •     Tel: 02 6277 7220

Sign TWO online petitions        


BACKGROUND INFORMATION This is a difficult time when health is a major concern for us all.  With no vaccine available, we are all very aware of the advice of medical experts – that social distancing and social isolation are essential across the community to stop the spread of this highly infectious and potentially deadly virus.  The situation is so serious that social distancing is now legally enforceable.  Adherence to the public health measures will protect everybody.  As you know, over 1400 people are held in immigration detention, and a significant number of these people are refugees and people seeking asylum. 

Experts are calling for the release of detainees:

  • Nearly 1200 doctors  have called for the immediate release of people from detention  have called for the immediate release of people from detention.

  • Transmission of COVID-19 in institutions is a significant risk. Detainees are held in relatively crowded conditions, made worse by communal meal and activity arrangements in the hotels and detention centres….. Detention conditions in Australia would likely lead to rapid spread, posing a risk to guards and thence to the rest of the Australian community. ……… Failure to take action to release people seeking asylum and refugees from detention will not only put them at greater risk of infection (and possibly death), it also risks placing a greater burden on wider Australian society and the health care system.

  • Experts in the control of infection diseases   have also called for the release of detainees to reduce this very high risk of infection for detainees and workers.

  • An Open Letter urging the Australian Government to move people urgently out of closed immigration detention, including ‘alternative places of detention’ has been released jointly by Academics for Refugees, Doctors for Refugees, and Librarians for Refugees.  Please sign on to the letter if you are an academic, doctor or librarian.

  • Human Rights Watch has released a statement calling for release of detainees most at risk. News Articles:   Moz, detainee in  Mantra Hotel in Melbourne Detainee fears COVID-19 infection and The Guardian article Detainees write to PM re risk from COVID-19

Video clip by human rights lawyer Alison Battison


Sample email    -  Copy and Paste into your email and edit it as required Dear Minister XXXX / Dear Premier XXXX / Chief Medical Officer I wish to add my support to the calls for urgent action to prevent the spread of COVID19 in immigration detention centres. Nearly 1200 doctors, infection disease Experts, Human Rights Watch, and Academics are all calling for the release of people from detention in line with the radical protective measures already implemented to contain the spread of COVID19. It is critical to avoid infection within these crowded places of detention, and in turn reduce the risk to the community. I am especially concerned for people seeking asylum and refugees held in immigration detention because of their already poor health. Around the world governments are taking action to prevent the rapid spread of infection in places of detention by releasing people to the community wherever possible. These people do not pose a risk to the community, and the major agencies supporting asylum seekers and other welfare organisations have all indicated they would house and support people released from detention. We must not overlook this vulnerable group in the implementation measures to protect the health of our community. Please act now to protect these vulnerable people held in detention. Yours sincerely (your name) (your Address is required when writing to an MP)


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