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Immigration detainees 'losing trust in the sy -

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Refugee support groups say a spike in attempted suicides in Darwin shows immigration detainees are
at breaking point.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: Refugee support groups say a spike in attempted suicides in Darwin shows
immigration detainees are at breaking point.

The Immigration Department is playing down the level of self-harming by asylum seekers, but the
Northern Territory's Catholic Bishop says the situation is unacceptable.

Jane Bardon reports from Darwin.

JANE BARDON, REPORTER: It started last week with rooftop protests. Since then, asylum seekers
detained in Darwin say there's been a spike in self-harming and suicide attempts.

CARL O'CONNOR, DARWIN ASYLUM SEEKERS SUPPORT NETWORK: It's really been a state of chaos. There's
been large numbers of people self-harm, hunger strikes, sit down protests, rooftop protests, and
tragically, five people, at least, attempt suicide.

JANE BARDON: Refugee advocates have been meeting, trying to find a circuit breaker to calm the

They say detainees who've been waiting two years for immigration processing and ASIO security
checks have lost trust in the system.

The Immigration Department has confirmed there have been some suicide attempts, but denies large
numbers are hunger-striking or self-harming.

EUGENE HURLEY, BISHOP, NT CATHOLIC DIOCESE: When people begin to harm themselves and attempt
suicide, and in fact do suicide, they don't do that for fun.

It's not a party trick or a tantrum. It's a psychological sign that people are beyond caring or
beyond their limits of coping.

JANE BARDON: The government says it's trying to speed up processing for detainees. The advocates
say that's not good enough.

CARL O'CONNOR: There's no reason why basic health and security checks cannot occur inside
immigration detention, and then they live in facilities run by organisations such as the Red Cross
until their claims for asylum are processed.

JANE BARDON: The government says those claims won't be processed any more quickly because of
protest action.