Australia's detention centres ruin lives
This insider’s account of the devastating treatment of asylum-seekers on Nauru and Manus will be illegal from 1 July under the Border Force Act
Ryan Essex The Guardian June 30, 2015
Detention doctors and nurses rally in opposition to asylum seeker disclosure laws
Having worked as a counsellor in immigration detention for several years, for contractor International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), any discussions surrounding my former place of employment could very well be illegal after Wednesday. This is because of the secrecy provision in the Border Force Act, a disturbing piece of legislation which is about to become law and is likely to have far-reaching consequences.
Under this legislation it is a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, for anyone who works in, or has previously worked in immigration detention to ‘make a record of or disclose’ information regarding their employment. There are a number of things that need to be said before this somewhat modest piece of dissent could put me in front of a judge.
So now, fortunately, I can still discuss the damage that I have seen first-hand in immigration detention. The damage that has been done to men, women and children. The families I have seen arbitrarily separated. Asylum seekers whose healthcare needs have been subverted and neglected, as they did not align with the immigration department’s goals………….
I have seen the damage Nauru and Manus have done; sending psychotic people, broken and defeated to Villawood after all options were exhausted offshore. I could tell you about the self-harm I have seen and I should put this on record one more time, as it may be the last, that immigration detention has a devastating and long-lasting impact on mental health…………
The fact that speaking out may now be illegal shows just how much there is to hide……….
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