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Centacare head sayd Woomera asylum seekers 'trapped' in cycle of abuse
    Asylum seekers in the Woomera and other detention centres are trapped in a vicious, abusive cycle which the federal government has created and is unwilling to break, according to Centacare.
    Dale West, director of Adelaide's Centacare Catholic Family Services, yesterday called for an end to the pattern of increasingly punitive and harsh measures being employed against mainly innocent detainees.
    Mr West said the removal without notice on the weekend of about 80 people from the Woomera detention centre is yet another example of the distressing pattern of treatment of these people.
    "The Commonwealth has been quick to portray these people as the ringleaders behind the latest unrest at the Port Hedland centre," Mr West said. "The assumption is that many of them have had their applications for refugee status rejected and are awaiting deportation. We understand this is not the case.
    "Capricious moves like this destroy people's confidence and makes them vulnerable to rumours and fears.
    "Because it also destroys any confidence in the due process of the legal and administrative system for processing asylum seekers in Australia, it has created a worsening climate of desperation inside the centres.
    "Increasingly punitive and inhumane measures now being mooted by the Commonwealth are fuelling, rather than fixing, the problems occurring inside Woomera and other detention centres.
    Cath Comm (SA)
   
24-Jan-01

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