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‘Why not me?’: Refugees held in Australia despair as some freed | Refugees Information

Melbourne, Australia – Activists and refugees in Australia have welcomed the discharge of 4 males held in immigration detention within the metropolis of Melbourne, however say authorities should now free the handfuls of males remaining in state custody, significantly at a metropolis lodge the place half the detainees have caught COVID-19.

Among the many males launched with momentary visas on Saturday was Afghan asylum seeker Ahmad Zahir Azizi.

The 37-year-old, who had spent eight years in detention, together with six years in an offshore detention facility on Papua New Guinea, instructed Al Jazeera he may barely consider he was free.

He mentioned he was relishing respiration recent air and feeling the solar on his pores and skin.

“First I [went] to the mosque … after I was strolling I regarded [back], I used to be pondering possibly safety [was behind] me!” he mentioned, laughing.

Azizi is now ready for id paperwork and a checking account. Whereas he’s glad at his launch, he mentioned he needed the Australian authorities to supply the identical rights to these remaining on the Melbourne’s Park Lodge, the place many detainees caught the coronavirus final month.

Their launch brings to 178 the variety of asylum seekers free of immigration detention since December 2020.

Campaigners say 81 refugees are nonetheless being held. Forty of them are on the Park Lodge.

Most of them had been delivered to Australia from the offshore processing websites in PNG and Nauru in 2019 on account of considerations over their well being.

One man who stays on the Park Lodge mentioned individuals nonetheless in detention endure when somebody is launched.

One mentioned he was affected by questions of why he had not been afforded the identical rights. “What’s the distinction between me and them?” the 32-year-old requested. “Why not me?”

“You don’t know while you [will] get out … If [the authorities told] you ‘subsequent two, three months’, you’ll be glad. You’d say, ‘Oh, two, three months is nothing.’

“However they need to maintain you in the dead of night. So that you don’t know something. That makes you very depressed and sad. They need you to endure.”

Graham Thom, a refugee adviser for Amnesty Worldwide Australia, agreed.

Whereas he welcomed the discharge of the 4 asylum seekers, he mentioned, “The arbitrary nature of those choices, which leaves roughly 40 males nonetheless detained as COVID-19 spreads via the lodge, is unacceptable.”

He added, “All these asylum seekers nonetheless being held in detention round Australia must be instantly launched into the neighborhood.”

There was no instant remark from the Australian authorities. It didn’t say what standards have been used within the determination to launch Azizi and the three others.

Continued uncertainty

In the meantime, different campaigners mentioned the Australian authorities wants to supply extra assist to the refugees who’re launched into the neighborhood.

In the meanwhile, most are launched on a short lived bridging visa that enables them to work in Australia. However they don’t seem to be given any monetary help past vouchers price 100 Australian {dollars} ($73.5).

“[The released refugees] have been instructed they’ve simply three weeks lodging after which they’re on their very own,” mentioned Chris Breen, of the Refugee Motion Collective. “They haven’t any cash and simply been given 100 Australian greenback Woolworths [a supermarket chain] vouchers with no rationalization of how or the place to make use of them.”

The boys are “being dumped locally with no assist”, he added.

Jana Favero of the Asylum Seeker Useful resource Centre (ASRC) additionally raised considerations over the dearth of a pathway for resettlement in Australia for a lot of the refugees who had been launched into the neighborhood.

“A few of them are … on a pathway to the US or have utilized for Canada to be resettled there,” she mentioned. “Others need to take lots longer.”

So, in actuality, she mentioned, most of the males proceed to face uncertainty over their destiny regardless of their launch from detention.

“To begin with, they’re launched with some funded authorities assist, however just for a few weeks … What occurs when that date comes up?” she mentioned. “Then their bridging visas might need 5 months left, what occurs after that date?”

Moz Azimitabar, an asylum seeker who was launched into the neighborhood earlier this yr, mentioned he has to use to resume his visa each six months as he lobbies for everlasting residency in Australia.

The 35-year-old Kurd mentioned he’s nonetheless battling the trauma of eight years of detention and has an intense worry of proximity with individuals.

“I don’t need them to return near me, to be round me or come near me,” he mentioned. “In detention … they did pat searches of my physique greater than 400 occasions.”

“Once I say pat search,” he added. “… they only contact, contact all my physique [and] I felt [like they] are killing me.”

Again on the Park Lodge, detainees proceed to hope for a launch from their indefinite detention.

The 32-year-old refugee who spoke earlier famous how many individuals “can’t stand quarantine even for 2 weeks”.

“However we’re right here for over eight years,” he mentioned.

“We’re simply struggling,” he added. “We’re refugees. We’re harmless individuals. We shouldn’t be right here.”

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