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Refugees begin second hunger strike in desperation for freedom.

Refugees currently detained in Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) have informed Refugee Voices that today, the 16th of July, they will for the second time in as many weeks begin another hunger strike.

The men tell Refugee Voices that hunger strike action is the only tool they have to raise awareness of their suffering and despair.

The men say they have many unanswered questions and the uncertainty of not knowing what their future holds is destroying them.

The men had the following to say, “Why were so many other people released into the community earlier this year, yet we remain in detention? Peter Dutton said on radio earlier this year that it was cheaper to release people into the community than to hold them in detention. So why haven’t we been released, when the government knows we are refugees and are innocent of any crime?”

“Why does this government continue to waste money on this inhumanity? If you do not want to allow us to stay in Australia, then why are you taking so long to send those approved under the US deal to America? Why are you not working more closely with Canada or accepting the New Zealand Offer? If you had, we would all be resettled by now."

“You have taken some of the most important years from us, you have destroyed our lives in so many ways. We are suffering physically and mentally and wonder why you continue to keep us like caged animals when there are solutions. What is it that you want from us that you continue to treat us in such an inhumane way? Please let us be free.”

Refugee Voices is profoundly aware of the impact that long term detention has had on these men.

Refugee Voices will continue to provide support and advocacy to all of the refugees currently in detention and will continue to ask the government why so many people are still being denied their rights to live freely and safely within the community.

Refugee Voices asks that the Australian community continue to support the men in MITA and the refugees detained across Australia and contact the Minister for Immigration, Alex Hawke and the Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews and demand an end to this cruel detention and free the refugees.

For further comment, please contact Ahmad Hakim on 0457 449 222.

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