Three young refugees sew their lips together in Australia detention center

13:12, July 26, 2011      

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Three young asylum seekers have sewn their lips together in a protest at the Broadmeadow Detention Center in Melbourne of Australia, Refugee Action Collective volunteer Daniella Olea said on Tuesday.

Olea, who has previously visited the teenagers, said they were aged between 16 and 18 and arrived alone from Kuwait, Iran and Iraq. They have been detained for about a year.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced in last October that he intended to release all children from detention centers by June this year, but Olea said about 50 teenagers under the age of 18 were still at Broadmeadows.

Olea said some of these 50 children refugee have not heard from their case managers for months, and they are desperate and need immediate medical care and support.

She believed the boys, who sewed their lips shut on Sunday night, have seen a doctor outside the center and have had the stitches removed.

"These are children that have already gone through enough in their homeland and getting here," Olea told Australia Associated Press on Tuesday.

"They are already traumatized and we are destroying them even more by locking them up indefinitely without knowing when they will be released."

Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration confirmed that there were three asylum seekers engaged in self-harm over the weekend but have now "ceased their action."

"It would be inappropriate to go into details of the self-harm, however the injuries were minor," the spokesperson said.

"All detainees received appropriate medical attention following these incidents and have access to psychological support from the detention service provider."

On Monday, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has officially signed a swap refugee deal with Malaysia, which will see Australia sending 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia and accept 4,000 verified refugees in return.

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