The man who died in a Melbourne immigration detention centre was an Indian university student whose visa had been cancelled.
The 27-year-old hanged himself in his cell on Thursday night in the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre after overstaying his visa, two independent sources said.
The Indian community responded by saying more care should have been taken of the young man’s mental health through the detention centre’s duty of care.
”I would urge Minister Morrison to get the system to review their arrangements in this regards,” said Yadu Singh, the president of the Indian Australian Association of NSW.
”We feel sad to know about the death of this young man,” Dr Singh said. ”Our hearts go out to the parents and family members.
”It is well known when people go into a detention centre they are under massive stress.”
In recent years tensions between India and Australia have been inflamed by a series of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne, dating back to 2009.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the man was found unconscious by staff at the centre in Melbourne.
Victoria police said the death was not considered suspicious.
Mr Morrison said the government ”expresses its sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased man and will provide support to the police and other authorities as appropriate to assist with their investigations”.
But the department would not provide figures showing how many international students were detained in detention centres in Australia, and offshore centres including Manus Island and Nauru.
Mental health issues were among the most pressing concerns for people being kept in detention centres, refugee supporters warned.
According to documents obtained by Fairfax Media, the Australian government had to pay nearly $7 million for breaches of duty of care, including mental health claims, of asylum seekers held in detention centres since 1999.
Of the 150 claims lodged for negligence or breach of statutory duty, 102 were closed and had cost the government $6.92 million.
The average amount of money per payout was $45,520, the documents showed.
Louise Newman, a professor of developmental psychiatry at Monash University, said the environment of the detention centres, particularly in Nauru and Manus Island, fostered mental illnesses.
”It is highly predictable,” Professor Newman said. ”We are setting up the circumstances [that will] lead to an increase in disorders, depression and suicide.”
Human rights lawyer Greg Barns said detention was ”inherently stressful” and asked if the signs for mental strain were being picked up by centre staff. ”The environment itself is creating the illness,” he said.
Source : Sydney Morning Herald