Freedom has been granted to 54 refugees in the past two days after months of protest at a Brisbane hotel.

After 25 Medevac refugees were released yesterday, a further 22 will be released today from the Kangaroo Point Hotel Alternative Place of Detention (APOD) and three from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA), Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said. Some 48 refugees will remain behind.

Many of those released had spent up to eight years in mandatory detention.

People protest outside a Kangaroo Point Hotel last year. Pic Peter Wallis
People protest outside a Kangaroo Point Hotel last year. Pic Peter Wallis

Despite the news, 23 refugees and asylum seekers remain at Kangaroo Point, and 25 have been left at BITA.

Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, expressed concern regarding the mental health ramifications both for those released and those who remain detained.

"These arbitrary, secretive and selective releases exacerbate deteriorating mental health of people in detention who are left with distressing uncertainty after eight years of indefinite detention on and offshore", Ms Favero said.

"The Morrison Government must release all refugees who were transferred for medical treatment urgently, and find them a permanent home, so they can recover their heath and start life again."

Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba, released a video on Facebook and said while he was pleased to see people being released into the community, there was still work to be done.

"It is really exciting news, but unfortunately quite a few men are still being held inside the centre", Mr Sri said.

"We are not going to stop protesting until all of these men are free."

Protesters have been stationed at the Kangaroo Point Hotel for months fighting for the release of those inside.

Green MP Jonathan Sri seen at Kangaroo Point Hotel, 721 Main St, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, 8th of August 2020. (News Corp/Attila Csaszar)
Green MP Jonathan Sri seen at Kangaroo Point Hotel, 721 Main St, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, 8th of August 2020. (News Corp/Attila Csaszar)


Refugee Solidarity Meanjin took to social media to express their joy in the release.

"More of our friends won their freedom today," the group wrote on Twitter.

"25 people leave the barbed fences forever and step into their new lives with our community. We are so happy."

The news today is welcomed by The Time for a Home Alliance, a group of 140 organisations and community networks who have long rallied in Brisbane for the safe and immediate release of asylum seekers and refugees.

Community pressure has now seen a total of 115 refugees released in five rounds from Melbourne and Brisbane detention centres since January 20.

They also revealed that four additional people from the Darwin Mercure Hotel APOD, where woman and families still remain, will also be released.

Originally published as Refugees released from notorious Brisbane hotel


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