A coalition of rights groups have called for all the people being held in alternative places of detention (APODs), under Australia’s cruel immigration detention regime, to be immediately released into the community.
Following the release last week of musician Farhad Bandesh and four others, Australian Border Force notified detainees in Melbourne’s Mantra hotel in Preston on Monday that they would be moved to another detention facility – however, no further details have been given.
The contract for Mantra to be used as an APOD expires on December 31.
Farhad Rahmati, who is currently detained in Villawood, Sydney said:
“With a stroke of his pen, Alan Tudge could release everyone to community which costs zero. Instead he is choosing to relocate the [people at Mantra] to another prison, spending millions of taxpayers dollars! After eight years of detention this is nonsense and we should be free.”
Amnesty International Australia Refugee Advisor Dr Graham Thom, said:
“The fact that some of these people have been released, and some are being moved to another facility demonstrates the totally arbitrary and cruel nature of locking innocent people up.
“As refugees it is clear these people have fled some of the most dangerous places on earth, and they have a right to freedom, safety and to build a future for themselves and their families.
“It’s unfathomable that human beings can be treated with such disregard. These people have been kept trapped and deprived of any hope for more than seven years. We have grave concerns for their mental health with this development which unnecessarily prolongs the unbearable limbo the Australian Government has them trapped in,” Dr Thom said.
Director Advocacy and Campaigns for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Jana Favero said:
“Amongst all misinformation, forced transfers and secrecy, one thing is certain – it’s time to release people from detention into the community with support. We can no longer treat refugees like pawns in a game of political chess. We call on the Morrison Government to release all 200 people from indefinite detention urgently so they can recover their health, reunite with family and live freely in the community.”