Operational update #2 - Disturbance at Christmas Island Detention Centre

Current as at 1300 AEST 09 November 2015

The Christmas Island Immigration Detention Facility remains secure and the Department is working with its service providers to respond to a major disturbance.

There is currently no large scale ‘riot’ involving the majority of the centre’s population, as claimed by some advocates and in social media reporting, but the centre remains tense and staff have been withdrawn from compounds for safety reasons.

A group of detainees, believed to be non-citizens whose visas have been cancelled under mandatory cancellation provisions, continue to agitate and cause damage to the facility.

The protest action began when a small group of Iranian detainees took part in a peaceful protest following the escape from, and death outside the centre, of a detainee on Sunday.

While peaceful protest is permissible, other detainees took advantage of the situation to engage in property damage and general unrest.

A number of small fires have been lit within the centre.

There is believed to be damage to medical, educational and sporting facilities but a full assessment is yet to be conducted. There are no reports at this time of any injuries to detainees or staff.

The perimeter of the centre remains secure and patrols by service provider staff are continuing. The Department is endeavouring to make contact with detainees involved in the protest to resolve the situation in a peaceful and safe manner.

The Department will continue to work with its partners, including the Australian Federal Police on island, to restore order. Any criminal offences will be referred to the police for investigation.

The majority of those currently accommodated at the centre are individuals whose visas were cancelled under mandatory cancellation provisions, or on character grounds.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

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