Media Release: RISE eX-detainees launched the Detention Divestment Campaign. Initiated and driven by eX-detainees.
As eX-detainees, we acknowledge that the land we seek protection on is the land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples whose sovereignty was never ceded. ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land’.
Today, Refugee eX-detainees in so called Australia have launched a detention divestment campaign at detentiondivestment.org. The new campaign, initiated and driven by the eX-detainee group in RISE:Refugee, Survivors and eX-detainees, lists Hospitals and Universities across Australia which form part of detention supply chains, both onshore and offshore. The campaign detentiondivestment.org calls out health and education institutions with ties to security companies complicit in ongoing detention torture.
How it works
The relevant website (detentiondivestment.org) lists major hospitals and universities contracted to detention profiteers such as detention security companies past and present. The data is updated regularly. Locate your local hospital and university and see if it is part of the abusive and murderous Refugee detention supply chain, discover how to lobby the institutions directly, and demand they divest from the detention industry by severing ties with these security companies. The website outlines steps you can follow and share within your network.
Why should detention-connected security companies be removed from hospitals and universities?
Large security companies and conglomerates such as SERCO, Wilson Security, GS4, MSS, etc. have a direct role in the Australian government’s abusive, human rights-violating asylum seeker trafficking and detention supply chain in Manus and Nauru as well as in onshore detention centres. Investment in these providers is an investment in Australia’s mandatory detention scheme and the continued abuse and torture of refugees. How many more from our community will be killed, raped and tortured in detention, in order for these institutions to divest from suppliers in this industry?
A continued contractual agreement with any detention security company is fundamentally at odds with the core ethical principles advocated by universities and hospitals. These security companies have actively chosen to enforce acts of abuse against our communities in detention and should not be allowed to profit via contracts with hospitals and universities, many of which have made civic commitments in their charters and codes, to anti-discrimination, the rights of women and children, and to champion the rights of refugees in Australia. Depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses are pervasive within Australian detention centres and are often a direct result of the experience of detention itself.
RISE strives to abolish mandatory detention of Asylum seekers in and outside Australia, whether it be one day, two days or more. We eX-detainees strive for self-determination where eX-detainees and detainees are in charge of the public discourse in which our community is addressed and talked about.
There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australia’s mandatory detention centres. These detention centres are allowed to exist with impunity and are controlled by the Australian government, enabling private sector suppliers to profit from Refugee torture and abuse. We have suffered over decades because Australian politicians have used the torture of our community members as political currency. We are the living proof of Australia’s crimes against humanity.
Federal funding from taxpayers is allocated to detention and goes into the hands of private companies while our people are subjected to gross human rights violations. The mandatory detention regime has been used to win elections since 1992 and our people have continuously been used as political pawns in this racist state. Since 1992, billions of dollars have been made in profit from detention centres in Australia.
For the past 3 decades, Australia has been progressively implementing punitive and cruel policies against people seeking asylum by boat. These policies have been maintained by successive Australian governments resulting in systemic torture and abuse of refugee/asylum seeker adults and children, and deaths in custody.
We don’t need any more inquiries or reports, we need action NOW. We eX-detainees urge hospitals and universities to immediately divest from detention-connected security companies as they are complicit in the continuous violation of the human rights of detainees and refugees in Australian detention centres.
A large thank you to the eX-detainee community including the overseas contingent who have put their heart and soul into supporting this campaign. It is very triggering and alarming for eX-detainees who have survived torture and abuse to bear the burden of having to relive our trauma and initiate these types of discussions with institutions such as hospitals or universities. But we know, the weight is on our shoulders and leading campaigns directly by the eX-detainees makes it more authentic.
Our voices and ongoing survival do matter and we need greater transparency from hospitals that are intended to ethically and safely support and proote the health and well being of all human beings without discrimination. Thank you to the researchers, web designers and volunteers including the interstate contingent who have been working on this campaign for the last few years.
Campaigns like this are beginning to create a groundswell of support for detention divestment. More than one hundred musicians divested from Australia’s refugee detention industry in solidarity with eX-detainees and current detainees facing ongoing torture and abuse: https://www.riserefugee.org/more-than-100-musicians-divest-from-australias-refugee-detention-industry-in-solidarity-with-rise-ex-detainees/. RISE eX-detainees wholeheartedly welcome this action taken by the musicians who stand with us. RISE eX-detainees have been working with a group of Australian based musicians over the last three years via Eclipse, a musicians collective, to achieve this important solidarity pledge.
Detainees and eX-detainees are not disposable. We call on employees, students and trade unions whose members work in universities and hospitals to stand with refugee detainees and eX-detainees in this campaign.
We demand hospitals and universities to divest from the detention industry immediately and sever ties with this industry.
RISE eX-detainees 2021