Dozens of refugees freed to join Melbourne community

Dozens of refugees have been freed after at least a year in hotel detention, granted the opportunity to join the community on six month bridging visas.

Dozens of refugees freed to join Melbourne community

Dozens of refugees who have been holed up in Melbourne hotels have been freed, allowed to join the community they have so longed for.

The 42 detainees were originally staying at the Mantra Hotel in Preston but were moved to Carlton's Park hotel about a month ago.

Twenty-four people left the hotel yesterday and another 20 were released today.

Moz Azaimitabar is one of the men released today.

He's glad he survived his ordeal in detention.

"I love Australia and I love people in Australia," Mr Azaimitabar said.

"The most difficult part of this detention ... we didn't know when it was going to be time for us to be free.

"We were locked up in detention indefinitely."

Mr Azaimitabar, who sought asylum in Australia, said being released was an incredibly emotional experience.


"I couldn't stop crying ... I just wanted to see a friend and hug them," he said.

"I am very lucky that I survived ... My message to everyone is 'love'."

The refugees have been granted six-month bridging visas after being detained for more than a year in Melbourne.

Detention Advocacy Caseworker at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Nina Field said is was a it was an incredible achievement.

"It's an amazing moment ... we are just so relieved and so happy for them," Ms Field said.

The visas mean refugees can live here freely while planning to leave the country.

The short term measure allows them access to medical treatment and other support.

A number of people have come forward to offer support in the form of accommodation.

While the victory for the recently released refugees is significant, the future remains unclear for several others.


Don Khan fled Myanmar and is still unsure when he will be released.

"I am very upset ... I am very worried about my situation right now," Mr Khan said.

Protesters who have staged several events over the past year are demanding change and calling for the remaining four people still in detention to be released, with further protests planned tomorrow and later this month.

The Department of Home Affairs reiterated the government's stance that nobody who attempts to enter the country via illegal maritime travel will be allowed to permanently settle in Australia.

Source : 9 News More