Demonstrators Protest Against Detention Centre Violence Following Rohingya Refugee Death

Protestors have demonstrated ongoing violence against Manus Island refugees outside Perth’s Department of Immigration office, following the death of a Rohingya refugee in immigration detention last week.

Demonstrators made paper flowers to peacefully call for an end to the intentional killing of refugees offshore “in the name of ‘deterrence’”, after Rohingya refugee Salim died on Tuesday last week when he jumped from a moving vehicle.

“Today in Perth, we channel and remember Salim’s peaceful resistance against violence and deliver flowers to DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) in his name,” the Refugee Rights Action Network said in a statement on Facebook.

“Flower bearers stand in solidarity with the human rights defenders on Manus. We reinforce the point raised by several men held on the island that more deaths should be expected if the government does not take urgent action.”

Salim had demonstrated against poor treatment of asylum seekers on the island by bearing flowers during protests in October.

He had been asked about why he protested with flowers and he said “They (the authorities) give me pain but I will give them flowers until they are ashamed.”

Salim is the seventh death in Australian custody on the island since 2014.

He had been on Manus Island for almost five years.

Salim had suffered from epilepsy for a prolonged period and was transferred between the island and Australia for medical treatment, but in recent years, pleas for medical attention went unheeded.

Following Salim’s death, fellow Rohingya refugee held in Lorengau Mohammad Imran wrote he begged for Salim to receive treatment.

“I recall telling the security guards on hundreds of occasions that he would die here if he did not receive the proper treatment for his epilepsy,” he said.

The writer and human rights defender said both he and Salim felt helpless.

“He had been through hell for five years and all we could do was watch him suffer and call the security guards to take him to the hospital in the hope he would receive effective treatment.”

Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani said Salim was a victim.

“Salim and many others were driven to death by the application of systematic torture,” Mr Boochani said in the Guardian.

“The death of Salim is the outcome of organised tactics of violence that involve a chain of command and administrative procedures.”

The Refugee Rights Action Network said deaths on Manus Island needed to stop.

“We ask ‘how many more deaths will the Australian government and people accept,” it said.

“We call for an end to deaths by policy.”

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