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(en) Australia, Melbourne, NOII - civil disobedience with Baxter detainees

From dr.woooo@nomasters.org
Date Mon, 7 Apr 2003 07:48:21 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Activists to answer plea for help from Baxter Detention Centre with civil
Activists from Melbourne Group No One Is Illegal today vowed to answer a
plea for help written by detainees locked up in the Baxter Detention Centre,
near Port Augusta, South Australia. No One Is Illegal will engage in civil
disobedience, mass protest and other actions, alongside other groups and
individuals at a protest at the detention camp this Easter.

The written message from the detainees was received by No One Is Illegal
activist, Aamer Rahman, which states "We are so confused, we don't know what
we can do. We came to Australia for protection but we have got only
detention? We are humbly requesting the Australian people: Please help us.
Consider us as human beings. Solve our ordeal. We will be grateful to you
for ever". (see full message attached)

Protests are planned at the Baxter Detention Centre this Easter (April 18 to
22) involving activists from every state and territory.

Camille Barbagallo from No One Is Illegal said:
"There are currently over 250 people locked up in the Baxter Detention
Centre, with more to moved there as Woomera prepares for closure. They are
telling us they are desperate, by any means, to be released from detention.
No One Is Illegal and other groups will be their to answer their call this
Easter in huge numbers."

"Woomera has been described as a hell hole, but detainees tell us that
Baxter is worse. Baxter has been modelled on maximum-security prisons, with
constant video camera surveillance, lack of contact between people, no
ability to see out of the detention centre. People can only see the sky. We
are told of daily humiliations, at times beatings."

Aamer Rahman added:
"People inside the detention centres are being forgotten, as Australia wages
war against Iraq. There are people locked up in Baxter who have no way out.
They have not been accepted as refugees, but they know it is not safe for
them to be returned to their homelands (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran). They are
indefinitely detained. They ask us for help, and we will go, to act in
solidarity with the actions of our brothers and sisters behind the fence."

For Media Comment:
Aamer Rahman: 0425 708 337
Camille Barbagallo: 0412 707 808

Below is a message recently received from detainees inside the Baxter
detention facility, Port Augusta. Please distribute it to all your networks
and contacts.

To the Australian community:

In good faith we would like to express our deep concern about our miserable
situation. For a long time we have been stuck in detention. We are of
different races, different nationalities, different languages. All of us
escaped our countries because of persecution or war. Unfortunately, our
applications for protection visas have failed. The government policy is so
hard, so tough - they don't want to grant us protection, even on
humanitarian grounds.

At the same time they are threatening to deport us to our countries of
origin. If we return to our countries, it will put our lives in great
danger. But after death, we cannot talk to any social organizations such as
Amnesty International or the Red Cross. Only our dead bodies can prove that
we have been persecuted.

We are so confused; we don't know what we can do. We came to Australia for
protection but we have got only detention. If we remain in Australia, we
will be productive citizens in the future. We will never regret, never look
back. We will live in harmony. We are humbly requesting the Australian
people: Please help us. Consider us as human beings. Solve our ordeal. We
will be grateful to you forever.

Don't think that we are illegal in Australia. We are legal. When we came
to your waters, we knocked on your door. We informed the government that we
were asylum seekers, that we wanted to enter your country. So by order of
the Government, naval forces brought us to the mainland. So we are not

Of course, when we entered your country, most of us had no legal papers.
You should understand that people who are really refugees, it is not
possible for them to access passports or any legal documentation.
Everywhere, when a refugee goes to any country, they cannot go the "proper"
way. Look at Europe - refugees cross borders without papers, always from
third world countries. In their country they cannot stay for fear of
persecution. So they have to move without papers. If anyone can access
legal documents and a passport, and use them to cross through immigration
and customs, they have no problems. That's why original refugees come
without papers.

If you look in our eyes you will see naked pain. We are treated very
harshly. They humiliate us every waking moment. They harass us. Sometimes
they even bash us, use teargas on us. It was beyond our imagination that
such a civilised liberal democratic country could do this to us.

It is our desperate desire, by any means, to be released from this

Baxter Detention Centre,
March 2003
[Ed. See:
http://antimedia.net/nooneisillegal/aboutus.htm ]

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