"Kia ora everybody,

A man has passed away this morning under some curious circumstances. First i would like to ask the lord almighty to bless us with a pure heart and a pure mind. Forgive us our sins and bless our brother FAZEL CHEGINI soul as he departs this living hell and makes his way into your kingdom. On Friday night our brother managed to get over the fence and spend his last days in this living hell, a free man. Five  years in detention and now your free of all your pain and suffering. All the torture physically and mentally. The chains are broken! Now we stand together! 501 and Refugee. No matter what, we come on the same waka, we will leave on the same waka! Everybody fears for there lives. What ever happened to our brother is immigrations and Australian Border Force doing. R.I.P FAZEL CHEGINI....Another day on the island."

By New Zealand 501

Christmas Island - 8th November 2015

Messages received during the riot:

"We probably locked down for a while. We went up to medical and then we all waited for each other to play a game of touch. The boaties got into an altercation with the E.R.T. It happened where we were waiting. None of our boys were involved! We just happened to be at medical with the boaties. We play touch every night at this time. F*#k we probably locked down until Xmas now."

"We are scared for our lives and we want to be returned to our families. 501 and Refugees will not tolerate the beatings, threats and mental torture anymore. This all started because an E.R.T wanted to fight a refugee over the guy that was found dead yesterday. We have seen too many of our brothers beaten to a pulp. Hospitalised and broken bones. We only want to be with our families. In detention we don't care! As long as we are in our home state."

"%*#@ they're here. Two bus loads. Scary sh*t. Heeellp"

"Fazel Chegini. This is the name of the asylum seeker who escaped and they found him dead this morning outside the centre. One  of the [guards] have said and admitted that [guards] found him yesterday, bashed him and told him to  find his way back in. "

Despite countless reports from several detainees who were on Christmas Island when Fazel died Immigration Minister declared in Parliament the very next day on the 9th November 2015 there were no suspicious circumstances. His claims are astonishing and premature considering there had not been any time given for a formal nor thorough investigations were done.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton makes bold statements on media proclaiming all 501 detainees are hardened criminals. According to our own research and data nothing could be further from the truth. We discovered me are randomly apprehended from other detention centres  in a kidnapping fashion and they are dealt with inhumanely whilst being transported to Christmas Island. We have known many men to be placed on Christmas Island from as young as 18yrs of age, men with serious health conditions, men who have not been to prison at all, men who's security ratings were low, men who were categorised as ready and trustworthy enough to be let out on parole conditions, first time offenders, low level crimes such as driving offences. Hardly grounds to make such outlandish claims of 'Hardened Criminals'

PM urged to step in over Christmas Island

Prime Minister John Key is being urged to step in following rioting on Australia's Christmas island detention centre

This portrayal of what is going on during the Christmas Island Riot 2015 clearly leads to paint a grim picture of the out of control behaviour occurring during the riot.

However, what is not told is why men felt they needed to behave in such an extreme manner in the first place? Despite collective reports over many months and even years (for asylum seekers)  of the serious mistreatment of human beings on Christmas Island, beatings, solitary confinements in appalling conditions, open-ended sentences, no criminal charges, mental health deteriorations, deliberate attempts to cut off and isolate 501 detainees from family support, legal help, access to support services, access to adequate medical support, daily reports complaints being made to politicians, the governments of both countries,  media, Australian Human Rights Commission, NZ Human Rights Commission, complaints to the United Nations, advocacy groups pleading for help on behalf of detainees and their families and a whole host of other attempts to get these matters addressed nothing was ever done.

The fatal death of a refugee and fellow detainee by the name of Fazel Chegini put absolute terror and fear into the minds and lives of all those detained on Christmas Island. Rather than consider the physical damages caused that can easily be replaced by our tax dollars that the government seems to have an endless supply of how does one replace the time lost from being connected with loved ones, the financial burdens and loss of incomes, the senseless behaviour and outright misuse of taxpayer funds wasted at rates of $180,000 per year per detainee? Where is the logic in abusing human beings who have resided all their lives in Australia to suddenly be labelled illegal migrants because the government changes a law that was meant to target extremists and terrorists? Reporters, media and journalists who spend their time listening to the rhetoric of politicians who make life long decisions at the stroke of a pen need to ask the families of these men who were involved before they decide to cast any judgements further disempowering ordinary Australians and lifelong residents of Australia. 

Below are classic examples of media who are not prepared to research their stories but take the words from those who hold the power - government.

Let's not forget no truer quote written by Walter Benjamin,

"History is written by the victors,"

and Malcom X who once said,  

“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed,

and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Several buildings were destroyed when more than 250 inmates of Christmas Island's Detention Centre moved through the facility, throwing petrol bombs and rocks. VISION: Channel 7.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis says the New Zealand Government needs to send consular officials to check the condition of New Zealanders in Australian detention centres, not just on Christmas Island but on mainland sites as well.

He says detainees at the Serco-run Christmas Island centre, where staff walked off last night when a riot broke out, fear they will be assaulted and even shot when authorities return.

The riot started in response to the death of Iranian Kurdish refugee Fazel Chegeni, who escaped on Friday.

Mr Davis says the New Zealand Government has turned its back its citizens whose human rights are being systematically abused in the centres.

"I don’t know of any detainees that had any visit or contact with consular staff. I think that's the first thing that needs to happen is that Murray McCully gets his officials to see, to check on the wellbeing the physical and the emotional wellbeing of the New Zealand citizens. I think that that's their duty and they've failed abysmally in their duty, says Mr Davis.

Kelvin Davis says John Key seems unwilling to criticise his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.

How Australia's immigration detention regime crushed Fazel Chegeni

Exclusive: More than 700 pages of the Faili Kurd’s immigration department file show how he was trapped in a bureaucracy that did not care for him

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK TO VIEW DOCUMENTS AND READ THE EXTENSIVE REPORT ON FAZEL CHEGINI

This article outlines the journey of one man seeking help from Australia, and our government's systematic failure to uphold his basic human rights. My thoughts are with his family.
"Chegeni’s wretched existence in Australia’s detention regime exposes the inefficiency and incompetency of a system that was legally obliged to look after him, but utterly failed to do so." Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Facebook Post)
One of the saddest articles we've ever read. Fazel is one of many refugees who has suffered incredible torment throughout his life and sadly suffered more torment whilst in detention. His death was the catalyst that led to the riots which occurred on Christmas Island on November 8th 2015.
This was the message sent to us on the day he died by one of our NZ detainees.
"Kia ora everybody,
A man has passed away this morning under some curious circumstances. First i would like to ask the lord almighty to bless us with a pure heart and a pure mind. Forgive us our sins and bless our brother FAZEL CHEGINI soul as he departs this living hell and makes his way into your kingdom. On Friday night our brother managed to get over the fence and spend his last days in this living hell, a free man. Five years in detention and now your free of all your pain and suffering. All the torture physically and mentally. The chains are broken! Now we stand together! 501 and Refugee. No matter what, we come on the same waka, we will leave on the same waka! Everybody fears for there lives. What ever happened to our brother is immigrations and Australian Border Force doing. R.I.P FAZEL CHEGINI....Another day on the island."
The article is lengthy but is well researched and written.
More information about the riot can be found on our website:http://www.iwinaus.org/christmas-island-riot-2015/
Nga mihi
Erina & Filipa (Facebook Post)

'Extreme risk' Christmas Island detainees moved to WA prison

12 NOV 2015

Seven Christmas Island detainees have been transferred to a maximum security prison in Perth, accused of rioting.

SBS News

A group of seven Christmas Island detainees have been moved to a prison in Perth. 

The group includes New Zealand nationals who have had their visas cancelled because of criminal convictions.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the guards running the main control room when an Iranian detainee escaped didn't recognise the perimeter alarm when it went off.

The two guards in the control room had never worked in that part of the facility before, and it took two hours before he was noticed missing during a head count, The Australian reports.

The asylum seeker's death is believed to have been the trigger for the riots in the detention centre earlier this week.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told SBS the men being transferred were "among a group of extreme risk individuals who are alleged to have been involved in the disturbance at the centre."

"Restraints are used where appropriate for the safety and security of detainees, staff and the aircraft".

The government has released a collection of images of the detention centre following riots riots sparked by the death of an escaped detainee.

Christmas Island damage bill hits $10m

12 NOV 2015

Seven detainees involved in the Christmas Island riot have been transferred to a prison and the immigration minister has indicated more could be moved.

A two-day riot at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre caused $10 million worth of damage.

Seven men - five New Zealanders, a Tongan and an Afghan - involved in the unrest were transferred to a Perth prison overnight and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has indicated more detainees could be moved.

"We're just not going to tolerate this kind of behaviour," he told Sydney radio 2GB.

It's believed the first group are mostly convicted criminals whose visas have been cancelled.

The immigration department initially estimated the damage bill at about $1 million.

But Mr Dutton said the figure had been upgraded to $10 million.

He also confirmed detainees broke into a medical clinic, removing drugs, and a storage area for gardening equipment.

"These people will have to pay for the damage they have caused through the criminal courts," he said.

The riot was sparked by the death of an Iranian detainee who escaped the compound on the weekend and later died.

Mr Dutton has spoken to Serco, the company managing the centre, amid reports guards in the main control room didn't recognise the perimeter alarm which sounded when the detainee got out.

His absence wasn't detected for two hours.

Mr Dutton said Border Force officers were examining what went wrong.

"Clearly, at a management level, we need to get an understanding how it is they are going to guarantee this sort of incident doesn't occur again," he said.

"It's unacceptable."

Christmas Island tension continues as UN criticises Australian policies

11 NOV 2015

Riot police have been deployed to the Christmas Island immigration detention centre in the wake of violence sparked by the death of Kurdish refugee Fazel Chegeni, who had escaped from the facility.

Riot police have been deployed to the Christmas Island immigration detention centre in the wake of violence sparked by the death of Kurdish refugee Fazel Chegeni, who had escaped from the facility.

Refugee advocates say dozens of people slept on a sports oval last night, fearing officers would use excessive force against them.

Kristina Kukolja has more on how it comes as Australia has undergone sustained criticism over aspects of its immigration policy during a review at the United Nations.

The Department of Immigration says service provider staff have taken control of detention facilities on Christmas Island, including key areas affected in the outbreak of violence.

Earlier, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said an operation was underway to restore order and those who had damaged Commonwealth property would face the full force of the law.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Dutton placed emphasis on certain segments of the detainee population.

"Those people who have been deemed to be of a high or medium risk, depending on their situation, that's how they end up in that centre. And I think it's important to bear that in mind, because we've got a number of bikies, for example, who failed the character test and had their visas cancelled on that basis. We'll have a look at their situation. There'll be an investigation after this incident. And, obviously, we're not going to tolerate criminal behaviour."

The Christmas Island immigration detention centre accommodates asylum seekers, refugees and people awaiting deportation.

Some of those awaiting deportation have been convicted of criminal offences.

Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul says most of the detainees are so-called 501s -- referring to a section of the Migration Act -- or non-citizens whose visas were cancelled on character grounds.

That can occur as a result of a criminal conviction, the severity of which can vary.

Mr Rintoul's Refugee Action Coalition says some have been long-term permanent residents of Australia, with partners and children in the country.

The New Zealand government recently raised that issue, conveying its concern to Australia over the treatment of its citizens in immigration detention.

Mr Rintoul says the Immigration Minister is now misrepresenting the detainees to try to justify a show of force on Christmas Island, along with other government actions.

"The interest that the New Zealand government, the New Zealand media ... And what generally comes from New Zealand is about what is actually happening on Christmas Island and the policy, which certainly has accelerated over the last months, of increasing the number of 501s who are removed, and that's caught up a greater number of people from New Zealand. I think the Minister has got an interest in portraying that grouping of people as particularly hard and particularly deserving of being kept in Christmas Island and of deportation. So I think it's a very self-serving description of the people who are in Christmas Island, which I think fits the Minister's agenda but I don't think is an accurate description of the people who are actually on Christmas Island."

The latest developments come as Australia has faced a periodic review by the United Nations' main human rights body, the Human Rights Council, in Geneva.

More than a hundred member states took the opportunity to reflect on Australia's progress and offer recommendations.

Country after country consistently raised the issue of Australia's asylum-seeker policy, among others, with a particular focus on the detention of children.

One of those raising the issue was German representative Franck Jarash, whose country faces the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.

"Germany wishes to offer the following recommendations: To remove children and their families and other individuals at risk -- in particular, survivors of torture and trauma -- from immigration detention centres. To review the policy of offshore processing of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. And to review the implementation of the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment Bill, making sure that the international obligation of non-refoulement is strictly upheld."

Many countries' views reiterated those expressed by France.

(French, through interpreter) "France wishes to ask Australia about the outlook for progress in its policy of pushing back boats containing refugees and draws attention to the precarious situation of refugees who have only temporary visas. France wishes to make the following recommendations: Develop alternative solutions to compulsory detention of asylum seekers, particularly in the case of children. Ratify the optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture in keeping with the commitment undertaken by Australia during its previous UPR (Universal Periodic Review)."

In response, the Australian delegation has repeated its position that the government's asylum-seeker policies have saved lives at sea and helped Australia take more refugees.


Tear gas used to end Christmas Island detention centre unrest

10 NOV 2015 - 8:48PM

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says police used tear gas to bring an end to unrest at the Christmas Island detention centre. Five detainees were injured in a clash with police, he said.

Detainees at Christmas Island's immigration detention centre have been injured in a clash with police who seized back control after a riot sparked by the death of an escaped refugee.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said five detainees sustained minor lacerations and injuries "as a result of their interaction with the police and their refusal to comply with directions".

Mr Dutton said police had used reasonable force against the detainees, the vast majority of whom were serious criminals including rapists and murderers, adding that a significant number of them were from New Zealand.

"The population has hardened within the Christmas Island immigration detention centre," he said.

"While the number of boat people drops in detention, the number of people in detention who have been involved in serious criminal activity or had their visas cancelled through a failure of the character test - those numbers increase."

Tear gas was used but he did not know if rubber bullets were fired, which a detainee reported to ABC radio.

Another detainee told the broadcaster some rioters had been armed with chainsaws and firebombs.

The riot was sparked after a small group of Iranian detainees staged a protest over the death of escapee Fazel Chegeni Najad, an Iranian Kurdish man, on Sunday.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said a core group of detainees had built barricades and threatened to use weapons.

Mr Dutton said a sixth detainee had been evacuated for "minor injuries and a medical condition unrelated to incident", although a Greens source told reporters the man had been evacuated after trying to overdose, having helped himself to drugs from the medical centre.

Mr Dutton said the detainees had caused more than $1 million in damage and would be prosecuted.

"People who think they can operate outside of the law have another thing coming," he said.

While the perimeter fence was not breached, security needed to be reviewed, Mr Dutton said.

"At no stage was there any threat to anybody in the Christmas Island community. There are lessons to be learnt though.

"The fact that this incident started in the first place, we need to examine the response initially by the officers - all of that will be examined in due course and if we need to provide additional security, that's what we'll do."

Christmas Island Shire president Gordon Thomson said Mr Chegeni Najad died from injuries sustained when he fell into a pit as he ran through the dark after jumping the centre fence.

Mr Chegeni Najad was granted refugee status in Australia after fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, but was convicted of assaulting a fellow detainee at the Curtin immigration detention centre in WA in 2011.

His sentence was overturned on appeal, but the conviction stood.

Christmas Island detainee dies on the run

8 NOV 2015

An asylum seeker who escaped from the Christmas Island Detention Centre has died. Australian Federal Police discovered his body during a search.

The body of an asylum seeker on Christmas Island has been found following his escape from the island's detention centre.

The man, believed to be Iranian Kurdish asylum seeker Fazel Chegeni, was reported missing on Friday, according to a Refugee Action Coalition spokesman.

Two days later, the Australian Federal Police discovered the man's body while searching for him.

The Department of Immigration said it was advised of the escape on Saturday morning.

The cause of his death remains unknown.

"As this matter is now subject to a coronial inquiry the department will not be commenting further at this time," the Department of Immigration said in a statement.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said Mr Chegeni had told other detainees he could no longer stand being in detention.

"This is another needless detention death," Mr Rintoul said on Sunday.

"The delay in processing and releasing him is inexcusable."

Don’t keep us in the dark: Christmas Island locals

7 DEC 2015

Christmas Island locals say they are becoming increasingly concerned about the island’s detention centre, which now also houses foreign criminals awaiting deportation, and the lack of accountability from the federal government.

For many years, the residents of Christmas Island have been caught up in Australia's attempts to manage the flow of asylum seekers. But for the past few years, they say the secrecy surrounding Operation Sovereign Borders has extended to their island.

The comments come as the federal government on the weekend said it had put in motion plans to boost the capacity of the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre, in preparation for what may be hundreds of asylum-seekers.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the plans are a "contingency arrangement" in case they lose a High Court challenge against offshore detention.

The High Court has indicated that it expects to deliver a ruling by February on the case of a Bangladeshi woman who has been confined to the island’s detention centre, despite being verified as a refugee by Nauru’s government.

Christmas Island locals said the activity surrounding the island’s detention centre has had a marked impact on the community following the recent escape – and death – of asylum seeker Fazel Chegeni and the subsequent riot.

Many locals told SBS News that when rumour spread around the island that someone had escaped from the centre, they were worried it was a foreign national criminal awaiting deportation.

“So I feel scared because I know most of the people from in the detention centre are criminals,” said Noorhidayah Ahmad.

“I feel scared … if they can escape and go around here, and I get scared because they're criminals."

Shire president Gordon Thomson said the local government wasn’t told there had been an escape.

"They see the territory as a place that's the Commonwealth's business and that the people who live here are just incidental,” he said.

“They have to provide some services, but really the territory of Christmas Island is Commonwealth land to be used for Commonwealth purposes, which is not how communities are constituted on the mainland.

“Government is about serving the people. The people elect the government and the government serves the people.

The islander’s concerns escalated when the riot broke out on the Sunday night and a roadblock kept them – and the media – away the following day.

The Shire president said he was warned he would be arrested if he tried to get around the road block.

‘Everyone was locking their doors’

November’s riot was the second at the detention centre, but local Peter Smith said this one was different to the 2010 event.

"That dynamic has changed the outlook of the locals to the detention centre,” he said.

“The previous riots where they all broke out and were walking through town here, no-one was overly concerned.

“But this time when we heard there were riots, everyone was locking their doors, taking their keys out of their cars and it just had a different feel about it."

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it kept the island’s administrator Barry Haase informed of developments.

Following the riot, 36 detainees who had had their visas cancelled under section 501 of the Migration Act were flown back to the mainland on chartered flights.

The department spokesperson said 15 had voluntarily returned to New Zealand, four had been transferred to other detention facilities and 17 were being held in Western Australia’s Casuarina jail.

Locals kept away

There are 160 detainees – asylum seekers and so-called 501s – currently at the centre and repairs are underway to fix more than $10 million damage.

But locals said they are still being kept away.

One local and a photographer for a national broadsheet were given move on notices by the Australian Federal Police when they visited the site of where Fazel Chegeni’s body was found.

They claimed they were in the neighbouring national park, but were ordered to leave.

An AFP spokesperson said they could not find the officer responsible to verify the claim, but “in usual circumstances, move on powers are used in order to restore order within, and maintain security of the centre.”

A review into the riot and Fazel Chegeni’s death is underway and could result in penalties for Serco, which runs the centre.

The Australian Federal Police is also investigating who was responsible for the damage caused during the riot and charges may be laid.