Torture room! The inscription announces the defenders’ message at the hotel in Melbourne, which was noticed by the world when Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was housed among asylum seekers due to his visa problems. The Park Hotel is home to those who have been stuck in the Australian asylum system for many years. Since Djokovic’s departure, the public has noticed the problem again, as a Kurdish refugee who has been held for 9 years is released and told what happened to him and his comrades inside..
Farhad Bandesh owes his release to the fact that his health deteriorated during his years of imprisonment, and the Australian authorities have now pardoned him for his illness and released him after nine years.
“Nine years is a very long time,” says a man of Kurdish origin who fled Iran and is now forty. He was forced to leave his home due to persecution, but now believes his ship was headed to Christmas Island, which belongs to Australia, to ruin his life.
Barely thirty years ago, when the gates of the notorious Manusi camp closed behind him, forty years later, one of the most beautiful decades of his life, the Thirties, was robbed by the authorities.
Felt like he was buried alive
He spent the first six years of his imprisonment in an overcrowded Australian-run camp on the island of Papua New Guinea. According to the man, although the great crowd being forced into a small place was unbearable in itself, the deliberately humiliating treatment was the most painful:
“We were locked up with over a thousand people. There was a lot of hustle and bustle everywhere, we were full of people, there was no privacy. I was humiliated by this cruel policy. I was deprived of my human rights. The whole system, including The behavior of the staff and guards, it was specifically cruel and insulting to asylum seekers. It felt like we were all buried alive, and they wanted us to feel that way.”
The Australian asylum system has also been harshly criticized by some Australian and international public opinion due to its prolonged detention and inhumane conditions. It is also embarrassing for Melbourne that Australia has been moving camps – and thus the problem – to remote islands for decades, without giving asylum seekers a chance to process their asylum in the continental part of the country.
dog and guitar
A dog cuddled next to Farhad Bandesh as soon as he was released from asylum detention. For a spiritually tormented human being, love and attachment to an animal is a great reassurance.
“The Melbourne refugee shelter, the Park Hotel, looks like a nice building, but it’s a prison to live in. You can’t even open the windows. People are locked up like criminals, even though they haven’t done anything like me,” Farhad explained.
He managed to get a guitar before his release, and in recent years, playing music has been his only solace in the uncertainty. For a long time, uncertainty seems like an eternity.
The title of this song is Great Exile. The goal is to get out of our cages and be free like everyone else. Farhad interprets the lyrics of his own song, while his hands are still on the guitar, their fingers still swinging on the strings as he speaks.
It took me ten minutes to pack my luggage
He auditioned for his release as a birthday present, and on his 39th birthday he knew he was going to take his leave. He also sees this as the beginning of a second life, a new birth.
“I was told I had ten minutes to pack my things,” Farhad says. “Then I was very happy for a few months and waited to have my new visa in hand. My situation.”
Restriction of a man’s visa poses difficulties in many areas of life, such as work or study. The Iranian man of Kurdish origin was an artist not only as a musician but also as a painter in his homeland, and after a long period of asylum detention, he wanted to learn to take his place on a daily basis on his own.
According to activists, denial of rights is common
Farhad Bandesh finds it difficult to enforce his rights even in solitary confinement and release. In camps and refugee shelters, it was completely impossible to contact a lawyer or any legal representative, and now he constantly faces more and more administrative difficulties.
Australian activists fighting for asylum seekers want the world to watch the deviations of the Australian asylum system even after Djokovic has left. At the Park Hotel, they regularly demonstrate, protesting the walls of the building with chalk almost every day. These, of course, are easy for operators to get rid of, but defenders insist.
Melbourne human rights lawyer Alison Bateson has argued vigorously that Australia is denying asylum seekers their right to liberty and legal representation, adding that it is very difficult to get out of custody: “What Farhad Bandesh experienced is not an individual case but a general one. The fate of most asylum seekers is similar.” .years of inhuman suffering.”
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