RISE eX-detainees’ Statement 12/02/2021

RISE highly condemns the Victorian Government and DHHS (Department of Health and Human services) for resorting to frequent lock-downs in Victoria without proper infection control plans.

This is a reality we need to face every day. With no proper infection control measures and procedures, including public health awareness in different languages across communities – testing and using police and military to control movements and police people’s behaviour is only going to have short term benefits if any at all.  We face the prospect of being forced to deal with waves of people dying or becoming disabled and more military and police crackdowns on our communities.

COVID-19 is having a huge impact on our eX-detainee communities who are struggling due to a lack of support in all areas.

Wearing masks, being socially distant and minimising community activity is not the only problem our community faces. There are underlying issues faced by the refugee community (particularly the detainee and eX-detainee community forcibly detained by the Australian government for seeking asylum).

On 14th of October 2020, the RISE advocacy team raised a few serious questions to the DHHS about;

  • Poor infection control measures in regional areas, reported by members – particularly those who have just moved from Melbourne to these areas. Many eX-detainee RISE members have moved to regional areas to seek work and study due to stringent requirements under the SHEV (Safe Haven Enterprise Visa)
  • Farms (serious implications for food security) – What are the Infection control measures
  • Community housing / low-income housing – what are the infection control measures in Melbourne and across Victoria

So far we haven’t heard anything from the DHHS. This is unacceptable and a poor way of handling our community who are one of the most vulnerable. We sought action across the community sector, (across Victoria) regarding proper infection control measures and a blueprint on executing these measures without having to constantly fall back on military, police and private security personnel who in many instances have been shown to be ineffective.

If Dan Andrews’ government and Health department cannot properly regulate infection control in quarantine hotels how can we expect the same people to effectively implement infection control procedures across Victoria?  Congratulating Australia for doing “better than” highly populated countries such as the US and Uk, further demonstrates the complacency of those who still have a job to support themselves and their families even during lockdown.

Along with the Victorian government and DHHS not having a proper plan for infection control measures, and quickly “locking down” the community with a heavy police and military presence they appear to have a callous disregard for the detainee and eX-detainee Refugee community. Are we the “collateral damage” during this pandemic?  SHAME

RISE eX-detainees

Read our previous media release :As COVID-19 continues to spread, the eX-detainee Community in Australia urges the Australian government to immediately release all onshore and offshore refugee detainees and grant permanent protection for all Refugees https://www.riserefugee.org/risecovidstatement/