There are now two reports on Detention conditions – Amnesty and the Australian Human Rights Commission – both very instructive.
Remember when you read them that what was seen- as horrendous as it is – is the best that DIAC (Immigration Department) and Serco (contractor) could offer.
Things are always polished up for visits.
The other point is that the people in these hellholes are not complaining about conditions but only about the length of time in detention.
One small anecdote not in the reports.
I wanted to write it up last week because it touched me so much but time…
Sometimes it is the small indignities which make you want to weep. Women at the ASTI have been waiting 6 months for knickers- yes underwear. Many women had only one pair of pants – the one they came off the boat wearing. Many times we asked -why can’t you walk them 5 minutes down the road to the k-mart and let them choose 6 pairs of knickers. NO SERCO have some central “cheap” supply somewhere which took six months to provide. Ten days ago the women were given- wait for it- YES 3 KNICKERS EACH. oh the generosity- the largesse!
The women at the ASTI are required to go to the office and line up and ask for SANITARY NAPKINS on the day that they start to bleed- not before. They are then given 6 napkins- not a packet but 6. They can ask for more as needed. At night only male officers are on duty so if the need them during the evening shift they must ask these men. Can you imagine the indignity? Why can’t these women be given a packet each month without asking?
Sometimes it is the small indignities that make you want to weep.
— Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
12 Batman St West Melbourne 3003
ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075