The Edmund Rice Centre has expressed distress about the death of a detained Iranian asylum seeker this week, at the Liverpool Hospital in NSW, the Centre said in a statement.
Dr John Sweeney, the coordinator of research at ERC said: "After WWII Australia and many other nations made solemn commitments to respect every person's fundamental rights. Article 7 of the Convention on Civil and Political Rights says, 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'.
"Article 9 says, 'Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law' and 'Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful'.
"These articles are flouted every day in Australia because asylum seekers, who are still human beings, have become demonised by cynical politicians and shock jocks.
"In the early hours of Monday morning, an asylum seeker from Iran died in Liverpool Hospital. He and his friends had been trying for over two years to convince people in the Department of Immigration, Federal Magistrates, the Minister for Immigration, the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commission that not only was he a genuine refugee but that his prolonged detention was causing him severe damage.
"He was suffering from post-traumatic shock disorder after his frightening experiences as a pro-democracy demonstrator in Iran and witnessing other desperate traumatised people in immigration detention in Australia engage in self-harm.
"He suffered repeated anxiety attacks about his wife and children alone in Teheran.
"The Department had very good evidence that detaining him was causing him serious harm and yet refused to respond to protect those fundamental rights.
"He had no right to appeal whether his detention complied with Human Rights Law before a court.
"Medical advice suggests to us that the ongoing stress was very probably the most significant factor causing his death. He had committed no crime. It was cruel, it was inhuman and degrading."
The Edmund Rice Centre is distressed to learn of another death in "Detention" (Media Release)
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