Villawood Immigration Detention Centre

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Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) is an Australian immigration detention facility located in the suburb of Villawood in Sydney, Australia. It mainly caters for people who have overstayed their visa permit or those who had their visa cancelled because they have failed to comply with their visa conditions, and some adult male Illegal Maritime Arrivals. People refused entry into the country at international airports and seaports may also be detained there.[1] It has been the focus of much controversy, with accusations of human rights abuses.


Villawood Migrant Hostel[edit]

It has been widely rumored that the site of the Detention Centre was initially the Villawood Migrant Hostel, which was used for the provision of temporary housing to migrants whose application for immigration to Australia was approved. However, an inquest into the history of the Detention Centre found that the fences surrounding the Detention Centre had been disguised as walls of surrounding houses allowing for detainees to maintain a sense of freedom and reduce the likelihood of dissatisfaction that would ultimately lead to violence.

Conversion to a Detention Centre[edit]

Protesters at the detention centre as of 22 April 2011

The Villawood Immigration Detention Centre was opened in 1976.[2]

In 2001 it was the subject of controversy when 40 asylum seekers escaped. A month later, a Four Corners documentary, "The Inside Story", revealed the plight of six-year-old Iranian refugee Shayan Bedraie, who had been refusing to speak or eat.[3] Shayan and his family had been detained at Woomera IRPC for 11 months and Villawood IDC for at least 6 months, and had witnessed a number of riots and self-harm incidents. He was periodically taken to hospital to be drip-fed and rehydrated, and then returned to detention.

Detainee on a rooftop refusing to come down during a negotiation

As of 20 October 2004, the centre accommodated 551 people. This number comprised 405 adult men, 105 adult women and 41 children.

In January 2008, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) said the high-security section of Villawood Detention Centre was the "most prison like" of all Australia's immigration detention centres, and demanded it be closed immediately. The HREOC described the infrastructure as dilapidated, and conditions inside the detention centre as "harsh and inhospitable". [4]

In December 2010, a 29-year-old British man wanted for a number of criminal offences in the UK, and was due to be deported, was believed to have committed suicide at Villawood IDC. His death was the third suicide at the Villawood centre since September 2010 [5]

Early in the morning of Thursday 21 April 2011, the centre was set alight by detainees.[6]


The centre is located at 15 Birmingham Avenue, Villawood NSW 2163.[7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°52′28″S 150°59′22″E / 33.874424°S 150.989571°E / -33.874424; 150.989571