On eX-detainees’ Day, we demand reparations for eX-detainee refugees in “Australia” with top priority given to them by social services, including health, housing, employment and education and food banks. 29/09/2022

We, Refugee eX-detainees in so-called Australia, mark the 29th of September 2022 as eX-detainees’ Day for the seventh year in a row. On eX-detainees’ Day we commemorate the ongoing political struggle, pain, suffering and resilience of refugees around the world, many of whom are detained whilst crossing borders to seek protection. We raise our collective voice to spread awareness and challenge this injustice. We also honour the detainees who have died in detention or continue to experience trauma arising from indefinite, arbitrary detention and torture.

eX-detainees’ Day is to be distinguished from events like Refugee Week or World Refugee Day. These events are not controlled by the community they claim to represent, which in itself fails to address the racist oppression and structural violence that marks our lives. On the other hand, eX-detainees’ Day is initiated, controlled and directed by eX-detainees.

On this day we seek to determine our future by pushing for long-term changes for our community that are outlined in our 10 eX-detainee demands. We raise our voices to counter the narratives of a refugee sector dominated by the voices of non-detainees and non-eX-detainees.

Our pledge on eX-detainees’ day 2022

‘In Australia, the eX-detainee community is arguably ONE of the poorest, racially profiled and systematically discriminated community groups’. There are so many eX-detainee members left in the community in limbo for many years with substandard social services and settlement case work support which has added more trauma and torture to our lives. If one believes, that when eX-detainees are “released” from detention centres the work is over. It is incorrect and very ignorant to think this way. While some purposefully walk out of our lives when we are released from detention centres, some other individuals and organisations build social and monetary capital using our names. Groups like these run away from responsibilities but we don’t have any escape – we are still here – it is about us, our lives and our future.

According to our findings, services like housing, employment, healthcare, education, etc, do not place eX-detainees on a priority list as being one of the most vulnerable community groups in Australia in need of a greater support system. Furthermore, when there is no recognition for the need for reparations by providing these services in addition to the recognition of our ongoing trauma and the structural discrimination we face, what hope do we have in seeking asylum in Australia? You are adding more layers of oppression to our community with your ad-hoc work.

Government and non-governmental social services in Australia validate the views of those who believe that our community is not even entitled to the bare minimum, including freedom of movement.

Pushing us through politically driven, white supremacist visa immigration schemes such as Community detention, bridging visas, citizenships, and permanent protection is not going to resolve eX-detainees traumas. We need more long term, humanitarian support. Our detention trauma is lifelong and now we are living with the effects. This should be considered by all social service agencies in Australia.

Ways to support eX-detainees’ self-determination and get involved in campaigns led by eX-detainees. We seek to determine our own future by pushing for long-term changes for our community.

  1. Support self-determined projects governed and run by eX-detainees such as the establishment of a self-managed eX-detainee run farm https://www.givenow.com.au/ex-detaineesfarm
  2. Share eX-detainees’ ten demands which address urgent issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees seeking protection from persecution. The demands identify systemic changes that need to occur to dismantle unjust laws and institutions that engage in and promote abuse and criminalisation of our members: https://www.riserefugee.org/topic/ex-detainees-demands
  3. The Sanction Australia Campaign https://www.riserefugee.org/topic/sanction-australia
  4. Detention Divestment Campaign https://www.detentiondivestment.org/
  5. 10 things you can do if you are not an eX-detainee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy8aPBocBnI

As eX-detainees in Australia, 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.

Nothing About Us Without Us
RISE eX-detainees