17 December 2004


The past week has brought both good and bad news from Baxter Detention Centre. First the good news. After more than four years in detention an Iranian family whom we met on our recent visit to Baxter has just been released on temporary protection visas and has arrived in Melbourne. The Edmund Rice Refugee Services group who made the visit to Baxter have undertaken to provide support for the family and are currently in the process of assisting with finding accommodation and arranging schooling for the son and daughter.

On a less happy note a number of Iranian men, including some whom we met on our visit have climbed onto the roof of their compound and commenced a hunger strike to draw attention to their ongoing detention and lack of progress in consideration of their appeals for asylum.

Whilst the release of one family is welcomed it is not necessarily a sign of hope for other families and individuals still detained even though their background and stories may be similar. If anything it increases their anxiety as it highlights the apparent arbitrary and non-transparent nature of the system that decides their fate.

It is hoped that even in the midst of this busy festive and holiday season that readers of this bulletin may find a few minutes to write or email the minister and members of parliament to express their concern about this issue.

Contact details for members of parliament may be found at the Parliament of Australia website.

Information about the current situation of those held in detention can be found at the Baxter Watch website.

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