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MEDIA RELEASE

NATIONAL
GPO BOX 573, GOODWOOD SA 5034
Phone: (08) 7070 6070 Fax: (08) 7070 6050
sadems711@internode.on.net

Saturday, 1st August 2015

JEANIE WALKER
SA State President
National Asylum Seeker Spokesperson

TRAGEDY AT YONGAH HILL DETENTION CENTRE


Mother of three and Democrats Asylum Seeker Spokesperson Jeanie Walker is devastated to hear the news
of yet another asylum seeker death at a detention centre in Australia.
I have been informed that young Afghan man Mohammad Nassid Najife took his life yesterday evening in
the Yongah Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia, said Ms Walker.
He had been caught in the middle of ongoing violence and conflict at the detention facility, with criminals
being housed with vulnerable asylum seekers such as himself.
He had been beaten by one of them several weeks ago. He had been in detention for 3 years and had
been begging to be moved to a safer detention centre.
Other asylum seekers in the centre claim he was begging earlier to be taken to hospital.
Police and ambulances have been at the centre all evening and have now confirmed to the others in the
camp that he has lost his life.
This is yet another tragedy in the demoralised and desperately sad asylum seeker community.
The Abbott Government has once again failed in its duty of care to protect the Worlds most vulnerable
people.
Earlier this year, Iranian asylum seeker Omid Ali Avaz also took his own life
Omid, aged 30, had been assessed as a genuine refugee but under the Abbott governments increasingly
draconian policies, He was not eligible for a protection visa. After receiving news that his mother had passed
away, he took his own life.
Its so sad, said Jeanie. His name means hope, but we gave him none.
Jeanie never met Omid personally, but neither did she know 20 year old Afghan Hazara asylum seeker Ali
Muhammad, who took his own life at Surabaya Detention Centre, Indonesia on the 10th February 2015.

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Since taking action for asylum seekers earlier this year, Ms Walker has found herself constantly being
contacted by those seeking asylum in Australia.
I had just been reading about further deterioration of conditions on Manus Island, and I knew I had to do
something. So I staged a hunger strike for 5 days which symbolically started on Australia Day. It received
some media attention, enough for me to be contacted by other refugee advocates who took over the
strike. But then the messages started pouring in.
Jeanie has been an active supporter of asylum seekers since 2011 and has opened her home to refugees
needing housing after being released from detention centres. However, since her action in January she has
been contacted non-stop.
At first they were messages thanking me for supporting them, but they soon turned to updates of the various
struggles they have been facing. It has been eye-opening and shocking.
Ms Walker knows first-hand how damaging these policies are. With one of the young Afghan men previously
staying with her family in the same situation. He was seized by Immigration and put back into a detention
centre in Darwin and is constantly threatened with deportation. His only crime that he didn't lodge an
appeal for asylum in the right time frame.
Another who stayed with her family is in the last stages of being returned to Nigeria.
Jeanie is currently leading the South Australian branch of the Australian Democrats.
All our members are active in various social justice groups, but if we are to defeat and replace the
inhumane policies of both major parties, we need to come together and fight to regain a voice in politics,
concluded Ms Walker.

MEDIA CONTACT:
JEANIE WALKER
0427 076 336
PS: If you or a person you know is contemplating taking their own life, there is help out there. Please contact the following
services in a moment of crisis : Lifeline Ph: 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call back service: Ph: 1300 659 467.