Weekly media wrap - 10 November 2015

Refugee Fazel Chegeni was found dead two days after escaping the immigration detention centre on Christmas Island. Mr Chegeni, who was granted refugee status in 2013, reportedly attempted suicide several times in the weeks leading up to his escape. The cause of Mr Chegeni’s death, whose body was found at the bottom of cliffs on Christmas Island, has not been determined.  Greens MP Adam Bandt called for “a full and independent inquiry” into the incident.  Peter Dutton said he believed there were “no suspicious circumstances in relation to the death”.

Following reports of the death, unrest broke out at the Christmas Island detention centre.  Guards were withdrawn, citing safety reasons after detainees lit fires and knocked down walls. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton described tension between detainees and guards as a “stand off”..

The Australian government is reportedly considering Kyrgyzstan as a resettlement option for up to 1,500 refugees currently detained in offshore detention.  The plan to send refugees to the Central Asian republic, a country criticised for its human rights abuses, received widespread condemnation, with Greens leader Richard Di Natale describing the policy as “ridiculous”.

Following a visit to the world’s second largest refugee camp, Zaatari, Peter Dutton announced $44 million to supply refugees in the Middle East with survival items, including food and water.  Dutton’s visit to the camp reinforced his belief in the government’s boat turn-back policy, arguing that “a tough border policy in Australia means that we can offer a helping hand and a new life to those Syrians”. 

Mr Dutton stated that, in addition to the intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees announced in September, further humanitarian visas may be offered if Australia can “first demonstrate that [it] can bring the 12,000 across”.  Greens MP Adam Bandt welcomed the move but urged the government to consider resettling Syrians and Iraqis currently detained in offshore detention facilities.

Internationally, the first asylum seekers were relocated from Greece to Luxembourg in an EU program that aims to resettled at least 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to participating EU countries. 

Read the Kaldor Centre's weekly news roundup.