Our national shame: another death in custody

Am I the only one who is this devastated about our country’s policy around, and appalling treatment of, asylum seekers?

I know I can’t be. I know there are compassionate Australians out there who, just like me, find it despicable that we treat human beings like they’re worthless, simply because they’re not lucky enough to be born in Australia.

But judging by the deafening silence and lack of outrage on social media and in the news about the latest death in custody at Villawood in Sydney’s west, it sure feels like Australia doesn’t care about these people.


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The asylum seeker from the middle east was found deceased in his room on Monday night.

His death comes six weeks after a Sierra Leone man died in the same facility. Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said that man, Musa, “should never have been in detention in the first place”.

“This is a completely shocking and unnecessary death,” Rintoul, spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, said. “His severe mental health problems have been known for years, yet he was kept in detention with no hope of getting well.”

And then there is Omid. Last year, the Nauru detainee was admitted to hospital on the mainland a full 30 hours after suffering burns to 50% of his body. If he’d been admitted within 10 hours, his treating doctor, Professor Michael Muller, said he likely would have survived. Omid died at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH), due to unnecessary delays in getting him treatment.

A google search reveals countless more of these devastating stories. So many people have had their lives ruined, their families lives shattered; their mental health has deteriorated to the point where they will never be the same, or they have severely self-harmed. Many have taken their own lives and died of preventable illnesses.

The response from a loud contingent of everyday Australians?

“Well, they should have gone through the proper channels.”

“They should have stayed in their own country.”

“This is what happens when you try to jump the queue…”

This ignorant, hateful rhetoric is all too common when it comes to asylum seekers. Let’s remember that these people are not criminals – but we treat them worse than any offender in our prisons.

When we have reached the point where innocent people are suffering and dying at the hands of our government, simply because they “didn’t go through the proper channels” – we have failed.

This is our national shame. One day, when our children ask us, “How did you let this happen?”… what can we possibly say to justify our lack of compassion and human decency?

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Michael cee
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Michael cee

So there no authors name to start with. I’m sure your sentiments are shared by a few but you’ve pointed out a small and one sided emotional story that totally ignores the reality of the situation. Australia is not an open border country, we are wealthy on the backs of those who have come before us and it is this very wealth that enables us to help those in need. Last count there are how many million displaced people? Sorry but a stong border policy ensures the security of this very safe and wealthy nation.

Ang
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Ang

Tragic news, yes but unless you KNOW people in our justice system personally it is a huge generalisation to say detainees are treated worse than those in our prison systems. Many justice shortcoming stories are kept out of the headlines too…

Tim
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Tim

One sided opinion piece, ‘the meddler’ is just that- a meddling piece of altered and fabricated opinion written to outrage people which is acts a form of advertising, it’s bad enough that people don’t have the knowledge and wisdom to vet and analyse media information for the truth from the bull and the biases that even good journalists and media outlets produce, let alone publish nonsense to stir up people’s emotions with misinformation or emotional content that causes harm and outrage just to get some web page hits to advertise and bring in money at the expense of the unaware… Read more »

nathan
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nathan

So by your understanding you think Australia should open the Borders for any 3rd World person to enter? Do you have Billions of dollars to House them and Feed them with Endless Free Housing and Welfare while Australian Born Working Families are sleeping in Cars and Tents? Bleeding Hearts are one thing but total Insanity is another.They shouldn’t even be here in the first place let alone living at Tax payers expense in our Facilities. This is just stupid Propaganda. The Crime committed by illegal aliens in the US is astonishing. While here in Australia 64,000 Illegal Immigrants came last… Read more »