ben moretti on Wed, 13 Jun 2001 02:38:43 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] the borders within

((being an island, australia has no borders ~ well external ones anyway.
we have a border of the mind. most of the australian population cowers
on the southeastern coast, leaving the central arid lands free for the
government to use for its own purposes such as concentration camps,
atomic bomb testing, uranium mines and us spook bases. here is an
article from the abc on the latest disgusting piece of xenophobia
emanating from canberra. b))

Fed Govt claims Woomera escapees probably had outside help 

The Federal Government says it is highly
likely that the seven asylum seekers who
escaped from South Australia's
Woomera Detention Centre at the
weekend, were given outside

Four of the detainees were to be removed from Australia.

Two of the escapees were recaptured overnight, but five still remain
unaccounted for. They have been on the run for four days.

Federal Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock
says security at the centre is under review to
minimise the risk of further escapes.

He says the Government is determined to
arrest anyone who knowingly helped the
detainees with the escape.

He says the speed in which some detainees
left the area is of great concern.

A spokesman for the Australian Refugee
Action Collective, who spoke early on
Sunday with one an escapee, says despite
their desperate situation, the detainees
seemed determined to avoid any risk of

One detainee has already appeared in
Adelaide Magistrates Court.

Police agree

Meanwhile, South Australian police have
agreed with the Immigration Minister that the
seven asylum seekers probably had outside

Police now appear to be concentrating their
search effort in Adelaide.

The officer-in-charge of the police operation
at Woomera, Senior Sergeant Howard
Davies, says a reassessment of the
operation will be made.

He says it is likely the escapees had
assistance to get away.

"Well that is a strong possibility," he said.

"I suppose the longer it goes and there is no sighting here in
Woomera, that gives further impact on the fact they may have received
outside assistance."

Court appearance

An Iranian man who escaped from the Woomera Detention Centre on
the weekend has appeared in Adelaide Magistrates Court.

Parviz Eftekhari, 27, was remanded in custody until Friday, to enable
him to seek legal advice.

Through an interpreter, he told the court he had a broken arm, and it
was cold at the detention centre.

Magistrate Brian Deegan said Eftekhari would be held at the Adelaide
Remand Centre, or Yatala Labour Prison, where it was warmer .

Another man, Soliman El-Masry, also appeared charged with
concealing an unlawful non-citizen.

He was granted $2,000 bail on condition he surrender his passport.

Inquiry call

The escape has sparked renewed calls for an inquiry into the way
asylum seekers are dealt with.

The Federal Opposition is suggesting separating those facing
deportation, from genuine refugees and housing them in a single

But Mr Ruddock, has rejected the idea.

"If you put them all in one large centre you would have a very much
more difficult management issue than dividing them up in a number of
centres," he said. 

"The advice that I have is that it would present more difficult
management issues than we've seen in the number of centres where
there have been disturbances at this point in time."


Catholic welfare agency Centacare is also renewing its call for a
judicial inquiry into the way asylum seekers are handled in Australia
following last week's unrest at the Woomera Detention Centre.

Spokesman Dale West says the regular problems at centres like those
at Woomera and Port Hedland prove it is time for a policy review.

"This will in 20 years time be Australia's shame, and we'll look back in
20 years time and say why didn't we take the opportunity to make
things different," he said. 

"We're not taking those opportunities at the moment because of
Government policy, so in that context, it's the Government that needs
to carry the can for the sort of activities and behaviours that have been
occurring in our detention centres over the last 12 to 18 months."

Darwin centre

Meanwhile, Mr Ruddock says the location of a detention centre for
asylum seekers in the Northern Territory will be carefully considered,
given recent developments at Port Hedland in Western Australia and
Woomera in South Australia.

Mr Ruddock says plans to build a 500-bed detention centre in Darwin
are still in the design stage and expressions of interest have just been

He says the location of the Darwin centre has not been selected, but
he says it must be away from residential areas. 

"One of the things that becomes apparent from what has happened at
Port Headland [is that] a compliant population presents no difficulties,
but if you have a non-compliant population or even part non-compliant
population in the detention centre it can have an impact on the
amenity of people living close by," he said.

"That's something we'll be very conscious of in any planning that
we're involved in," he said. 

ben moretti

news and events in adelaide:

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