Asylum Seekers and Refugees must be considered in the response to the Covid 19 Emergency.
The NSWCCL has grave concerns for the health and safety of those held in immigration detention centres on the Australian mainland. Media reports have described conditions in the Villawood Detention Centre of up to 200 detainees in close contact during mealtimes and the cramped conditions in the Mantra hotel in Brisbane which is being used as an Alternate Place of Detention (APOD).
We are also concerned for those who are in the community and may be left without access to Medicare and Centrelink. The Federal Government has extended the range of people who can access Centrelink payments with the aim of providing money for those who need it however, as explained by Paul Power from the Refugee Council of Australia, “This thinking should be extended to everyone in the country who is in need, particularly those who have no access to any form of safety net or to Medicare because of their visa status.”
We ask our members and supporters to act upon these concerns by letting their Federal Members of Parliament know of their concerns. More information and a prepared letter are on the Refugee Council of Australia website.
Dr Martin Bibby and Angela Catallo, co-convenors, Asylum Seekers an Refugees Action Group