Leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt MP, has demanded freedom for 12 refugees imprisoned in the Park Hotel in his electorate of Melbourne, ahead of a rally this weekend calling for their release.
Mr Bandt will attend this weekend's COVID-safe rally at the Park Hotel in Carlton, organised by the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), It has been endorsed by dozens of groups and individuals, including the Victorian Greens.
“The Australian government must release all of the refugees in the Park Hotel immediately," Mr Bandt said.
"The remaining 12 refugees have endured years of imprisonment, and even as some of their friends have been allowed to enter the community, have been denied answers about why they're still detained. Imagine what 7 years of baseless imprisonment would do to your physical and mental health. This is life for people who have come to Australia seeking help.”
"Offshore detention does nothing for Australia's security. It sends a message to the international community that our nation is willing to torture innocent people, including children, for trying to seek safety from persecution or conflict, often in wars we have been involved in. Until both Liberal and Labor abandon the cruel, punitive policy of offshore detention, and accept refugees as is our international obligation, Australia will have difficulty claiming to be a compassionate country on the world stage.
Protesters also point to the difficult conditions refugees are facing, even when freed. Rather than being given access to citizenship or permanent residency, the men have been put on unstable bridging visas that expire after just 6 months.
Lines from rally organiser, Nahui Jimenez:
“It is unacceptable that the government is denying these men the right to live in our community. All the Medevac refugees, along with the thousands of others on temporary protection and bridging visas across Australia, must be granted full citizenship rights. It’s the least we can do after 8 years of torture.”
Speakers on the day include recently freed refugees Imran Mohammed and Thanush Selvarasa, Don Khan, who is currently imprisoned in the Park Hotel; Anjali Sharma (School Strike 4 Climate), Lavanya Thavaraja (Migrant Workers' Centre) and Jorge Jorquera (Victorian Socialists councillor).