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Australian government to construct a "Guantanamo Bay" for asylum-seekers on Christmas Island

16 November 2006

A Just Australia expressed its outrage at the blueprints for the new immigration detention centre to be built on Christmas Island released today.

As part of the internationally criticised 'Pacific Solution', Christmas Island has been one of the places the Australian government has warehoused asylum-seekers in sub-standard conditions.

"Under these plans, it appears that people who have committed no crime except to have exercised their internationally recognised human right to seek protection from persecution will be treated worse than the most dangerous criminals," said Anna Samson, Acting National Coordinator of A Just Australia.

"Electric fences, 24-hour cameras and microphones in each room, electric doors that can be centrally locked and tagging of detainees - these are the hallmarks of prisons such as that run by the US in Guantanamo Bay, not the humane treatment of asylum-seekers.

"As it stands, asylum-seekers on Christmas Island have difficulty accessing appropriate legal advice, health care and welfare services. But rather than addressing these concerns, these plans seem to introduce surveillance systems that will allow remote central monitoring of asylum-seekers from as far away as Canberra.

"Should they be implemented, these plans demonstrate that the federal government has learned very little from the numerous inquiries and reports detailing the serious, long-term, adverse consequences that this sort imprisonment has on the health and welfare of asylum-seekers.

"Not only is this model for an immigration detention centre inhumane, it will cost Australian taxpayers millions of dollars.

"The Australian community and parliamentarians from across the political spectrum who have supported a more compassionate approach to refugee policy in Australia deserve an explanation from the Immigration Minister, Senator Vanstone, of the thinking behind these proposals."

 
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CONTACT

Anna Samson
Acting National Coordinator
0401 900 690

A Just Australia Inc
37-47 St. Johns Road, Glebe NSW 2037
phone: 02 9571 7230
fax: 02 9571 7231
email: mail@ajustaustralia.com
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