Weekly media wrap - 3 November 2019

The Australian Government has contracted mining company CI Resources to maintain the Christmas Island detention centre for $20 million. This facility is currently only housing four people – the Tamil family from Biloela fighting deportation to Sri Lanka. It is understood that CI Resources will be responsible for transporting detention centre staff as well as general maintenance, repairs and cleaning. 96 Serco staff continue to work at the centre as guards, as part of a $2.5 billion contract with Home Affairs. 

Meanwhile, the 30-day time limit for the request made by the United Nations Human Rights Committee for the Australian Government to release the Tamil family from detention has now expired. The Department of Home Affairs has refused to comment further on the UN’s request, stating that the family would remain on Christmas Island ‘whilst the judicial review proceedings are before the court’.

A Queensland coroner ordered the reopening of the inquest into the death of Omid Masoumali, the 23-year-old Iranian refugee on Nauru who died after setting himself on fire three years ago. The inquest will now look at more evidence, including Mr Masoumali’s mental health treatment and request for psychological help in the weeks prior to his death. 

Over 200 athletes and officials who remained in Australia after going missing from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games had their asylum seeker claims rejected. The majority of these were previously granted bridging visas whilst their applications were being considered. Many of those seeking asylum were African athletes and officials from Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Uganda. The majority have since lodged appeals with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Official documents show four appeals have already been dismissed, six asylum seekers have already returned to their home countries, and one asylum seeker remains in immigration detention.