Deathscapes

Perpetual Insecurity 11b - Raza Rezaei

Deathscapes

Killing Raza

Protesters including Hazara community members stand outside Perth Detention Centre with signs reading 'Justice for Raza!' and 'Raza died not because of terrorism, he died because of inhuman policies'.

[imagecaption] World Refugee Day Protest, Perth Immigration Detention Centre, 2015. Photo: Marziya Mohammedali. [/imagecaption]

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Raza was a young Hazara man who was living in Perth on a bridging visa at the time of his suicide, after having been detained at the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre. Friends who knew Raza described him at the time of his release from detention as an ‘incredibly happy person’, who liked to make jokes and deeply valued his friends. One friend described how he started to change as he struggled with being denied the right to work; she noted that over time he became anxious and forgetful. He then became disconnected from his social networks.

On 16 June 2015, Raza had an encounter with the police and was held at a police station and interviewed. The following morning he suicided. Here it is worth considering the relationship between the perceived stigma associated with holding a discredited illegalised and criminalised status and the impact on health, increasing stress levels and the avoidance of institutions that might help (Asad, Clair, 2018). Shortly after Raza’s death, a question on notice was put to the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. The response revealed that in 2014 there were 9 reported deaths of bridging visa holders and in the first half of 2015 there were 6 reported deaths of bridging visa holders. These shocking figures would have raised an outcry in any other context.

 


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