GOVERNMENT ACTION TO BLAME FOR
DETENTION CENTRE RIOTS
The Federal Government's refusal to close detention centres and implement an
alternative refugee and asylum seeker policy is to blame for the dangerous
conditions at Curtin Detention Centre according to leaders of the Uniting
Rev Professor James Haire, National President of the Uniting Church Assembly
"It is the inhumane conditions in the Curtin Detention Centre and the
hopeless circumstances faced by the detainees that has led to the riots in
detention centres across Australia.
"The Church condemns all violence and vandalism but believes that
Australians have a right to understand the circumstances that have led to such
"The Uniting Church is extremely concerned for the welfare of both the
detention centre staff and the detainees themselves. But it is not detainees who
are ultimately to blame for the riots but rather systems and policies that have
bred complete and utter hopelessness and despair".
The Uniting Church's National Director of Social Responsibility and Justice, Rev
Elenie Poulos, said "most of the people remaining in detention centres are
those who have failed in their refugee applications. They are in detention
because they cannot return to their homelands.
"They have committed no crimes yet they are placed in conditions worse than
"These people are at the end of the road - they have exhausted all avenues
of appeal and have no hope of release. Their daily lives are characterised by
boredom at best and depression, anger and violence at worst. It is not the
detainees who are the perpetrators of the violence but rather the system.
Instead of building new detention centres and paying out millions of dollars for
the ineffective 'Pacific Solution' just a small proportion of that money could
fund alternative community release programs for detainees.
"It is a sad irony that while our jails can run community release programs,
the Government cannot see past the cruel and inhuman indefinite mandatory
detention of a few hundred sad and desperate people", Ms Poulos said.
MEDIA INFORMATION: Contact Kim Cain
(For James Haire) 0419 373 123
Or Elenie Poulos 0417 431 853