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Sunday 25 February 2018

Tampons and sanitary pads sent to Australian Immigration minister in protest over refugee supplies

Protesters work on their submissions. Photo: Twitter/JointDestroyer
Protesters work on their submissions. Photo: Twitter/JointDestroyer
The letter and tampon sent by Twitter user 'Melbrarian'. Photo: Twitter/Melbrarian
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison

Australia’s Immigration Minister received tampons and sanitary towels in his post box from protesters against alleged restrictions on sanitary products for refugees.

Destroy the Joint, an Australian online feminist group, asked its supporters to ''say no to the bloody humiliation of refugee women'' by sending unused sanitary products to Mr Morrison’s office.

A day after the project was started in late December, #stopthetampons was trending on Twitter in Australia.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the campaign follows claims by RISE (Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees) that some women in detention centres were forced to ask security personnel for tampons and pads, and were allegedly sanctioned to one or two products at a time.

In an online article, RISE cited a piece posted on the Australian Democratic Socialist Party website who reported from a visit to the Wickham Point detention facility.

Victoria Martin-Iverson wrote that: ''Sanitary pads are doled out one at a time, so women need to repeat the humiliating ritual of requesting a fresh one each time they needed to replace a soiled one''.

However, Sophie Peer from Chilout, an organisation that campaigns to end the detention of children, told The Sydney Morning Herald that: ''We don't have recent evidence that this is happening, that people have to ask for them one by one,'' after RISE cited an old investigation by the group.

But she said women were given packets of menstrual products at a time, and stressed women may feel humiliated by having to ask male guards.

She added that the situation could easily be improved.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has rejected the claims that female asylum seekers are not being given the correct provisions as “baseless.”

A spokeswoman told the Australian newspaper said that women are given sanitary products ''on request, on demand, no limit'' as well as when they were put into detention.

''We don't know where this has come from, but it's nonsense,'' the spokeswoman said.

''The policy hasn't changed since the previous government. It's just completely false and misleading,'' she added.

Mr Morrison's office had reportedly received ''about half a dozen'' packages containing sanitary products within days of the campaign beginning.

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