10yo aslyum-seeker pleads for release from Australian detention centre

A 10-year-old Vietnamese asylum-seeker has written a letter to the Australian public pleading for her release, after more than a year in immigration detention.

The girl has been interned in three different immigration detention centres since arriving in Australia by boat in March 2011. 

She's now detained in the Darwin Airport Lodge with a group of 25 other unaccompanied Vietnamese minors.

In a translation of her letter, she describes living there as "extremely depressing," and says she and the other Vietnamese children are "suffering."

The girl says their lives are "very sad and hopeless" and that they "lack any sense of a future." 

She then writes that she would like help from the Australian people.

"We don't know what else we can do. We don't know who will help us."

The Australian Greens Party says the letter shows the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, is not carrying out his guardianship responsibilities properly.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says Mr Bowen should relinquish his guardianship responsibilities for the unaccompanied minors he is detaining.

"This is an appalling circumstance, where we have a ten-year-old child pleading for help, not knowing who to turn to," she said.

"The immigration minister is this girl's legal guardian, the same person who is keeping her locked up for almost a year, a child, a 10-year-old child."

Rohan Thwaites from the Darwin Asylum-Seeker Support Network says the government and public should respond. 

"She's hoping, I think as we are, that she can be moved out of detention so that she can start to live in the community and not be subject to incidences of self harm and suiciden and all the other things that come with being detained," he said.

The Immigration Department says it is "looking into" the letter.

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