Asylum seekers break out of Christmas Island detention centre

Sydney Refugee Action Collective Media release, 12 March 2011 Reports from asylum seekers on Christmas Island indicate that at least 150 asylum seekers, believed to be mostly Iranian, have broken out of Christmas Island detention centre.
All Serco guards have withdrawn from the detention compound and are believed to be searching for the escaped detainees.

The trouble began around 11.30 Christmas Island time and seems to have been concentrated on the main compounds of the detention centre. All compounds have been locked down, leaving remaining asylum seekers unattended.

From early reports it seems that tension and frustration has been building over delays with processing asylum claims and restrictions that were placed on movements between compounds on Friday.

“The latest events on Christmas Island are just the latest indications that Christmas Island should be closed. The over-crowding, the lack if resources, the remoteness make Christmas Island a particularly unsuitable place for asylum seekers.

“The delays in processing are unforgivable,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “There are refugees waiting for over 18 months for security clearances after they have been found to be refugees.”