CM – Park Hotel is a hellhole, free the refugees


While Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was in custody, refugee rights activists took the opportunity to protest against the detention of refugees who were brought to Australia under the Medevac Act in 2019.

About 200 people gathered on January 9th at a protest organized by the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) in front of the hotel prison in Carlton to start their lives anew.

See also

ark Hotel Asylum seekers asks the federal government: « What did we do wrong? »

Djokovic, distractions and shifting debt

RAC spokesman David Glantz said whether Djokovic wins or loses his court battle: « He will be back on the track, make a lot of money, do what he does best, be a top-class tennis player ». If you’re a major sports star and you’re incarcerated, it is an « inconvenience and disruption » to your gaming and income, Glantz said. The immigration minister’s “power of God” gives them the opportunity to “lock up undemocratic people and throw away the key”.

The Parkhotel is no longer a quarantine hotel. In 2020, under the name Rydges, it was and became the source of major COVID-19 outbreaks.

« Now it’s a place where people are locked up and fed food containing maggots and mold, by companies that who take hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the Australian government to allegedly take care of these refugees, « said Glantz.

As the » Human Zoo « sign suggests, refugees are treated worse than animals.

Adnan Choopani, a refugee from Iran who applied for asylum in 2013 at the age of 15, told the rally from inside the Parkhotel that all 36 “have been designated as refugees and have documents to prove it”.

“In this detention center they don’t even call us by name, they call us ‘inmate’. They want to break our spirits. The federal government spends $ 4.3 million for each person each year to detain the infamous Nauru and Manus Island offshore detention centers.

Medhi, Choopanis’ cousin, who arrived at the same age, said he was considered a « threat » because he « fled his homeland and came by boat ». Most of the people who have come here by boat since 2013 have been released, he said, « except for a handful of us who are used as political pawns.

 » Let’s say it’s a crime, after 2013 to come by boat. We took the time to do this – it has been nine years, although we have never committed a crime in our entire lives. « 

Ms. DjabWurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara and Green Senator Lidia Thorpe spoke at the rally and said, that more than 500 black deaths in the prison system show that « the colonial system was set up not only to kill us, but to kill our brothers and sisters … every traditional owner in this country. »

The shadow minister for multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles, isolating himself, sent a message of solidarity. “For the past few days, the world’s eyes have been on this place. It shouldn’t have had to cancel a tennis player’s visa for that. But this needs to shed some light on the senseless cruelty that has been going on for years and cannot go on. « 

There are a growing number of people who are referred to as » 501 « in detention centers and are currently undergoing Section 501 deportation of the Migration Act. They are non-citizens, people who have served a prison sentence for a crime and are awaiting deportation. Others are refugees who are said to have failed the « character test » for allegedly committing a crime.

Instead of being released into the community after serving their term, they were taken to places like Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA ) detained.

Joey Tangaloa Taualii has been detained in MITA for nine months and has lived in Australia since he was three months old. The now 50-year-old father told the rally over the phone that the conditions were “worse than in prison.”

“If I have migraines or feel suicidal today … you have to fill out an application form and a nurse will take you in two or two visit three days. In some cases it is too late. « He said that although a » judge and the parole board found us 501 safe and well rehabilitated to return to society, « the minister overruled the sentence.

Joy, A refugee from Bangladesh told the Park Hotel rally, “When I came here in 2013, I had dreams. I don’t have to win the Australian Open tennis, but I had dreams. I wanted to build my career. I wanted to have a nice family. Today we want justice for our 10 years [imprisoned]. Please open the windows, please open the doors. Please set us free. ”

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