Bloody protest at refugees detention center but the authorities are quiet

Sydney (Monday, 2nd of September): One person was bleeding from head and the other falling unconscious as shown by the ABC television (Australia) last night. Curtin detention centre, in Australia’s remote north-west, was the scene of riots at the weekend, and the authorities are still trying to calm the situation down. As the press and media people don’t have access to cover the inside situation the real reasons for detainees being injured are not clear. Australia’s ABC television showed dramatic shots of a protest at the same centre last June with the comments of the Prime Minister Howard on the incident.

Prime Minister John Howard has said he is satisfied that immigrants at a detention centre are being treated humanely. He said the graphic images being shown on television are not telling the true story. The video shows asylum seekers smashing their heads against the walls of cells, one person falling unconscious and the face of another person was covered in blood.

It is to be noted that Australia has come under immense fire from the UN and international human rights groups for its policy of detaining all illegal immigrants while their asylum claims are processed. There have been several riots at various camps in Australia, by detainees protesting at the length of time their applications have taken. Some immigrants can wait more than three years for a decision.

At Curtin camp, the authorities were searching for weapons and cleaning up after the latest protests. Most of the rioters have surrendered, handing in weapons ranging from knives and meat cleavers to lumps of concrete and a cricket bat. But few people facing imminent deportation are thought to be holding a stockpile of makeshift weapons.

The government authorities are also claiming that the riot ringleaders were also involved in the mass escape from the Woomera camp in South Australia last month, before being transferred to Curtin.

According to the new system approved on Monday, a committee of 10 independent experts will be able to make visits without prior notice as part of an international convention from United Nation.

The writer is a Sydney-based freelance journalist and a political analyst.