Reopen cases of wrongly deported Afghani asylum seekers. As promised.
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"A few weeks after I was deported, my two daughters were killed. My daughters were killed so John Howard could win an election."
Afghani refugee deported from Nauru.
“One man I interviewed had recently survived a rocket being fired through his house. His wife and his father were killed instantly. He lives now in hiding in Kabul - along with his six children – all under the age of nine. The returnees are being actively targeted for having left the country, because they are seen as being favorable to the West.”
Phil Glendenning, Director of Edmund Rice Centre.
"Phil, I want you to tell Australia that I have not given up hope."
Rizae (photographed above) deported from Nauru in 2001. Rizae is an Hazara - historically one of the most persecuted tribes in Afghanistan. He's also a member of the small pacifist Islamic sect, the Ismailias.
18 months ago the Department Of Immigration contacted Edmund Rice Centre, the highly respected human rights organization working in Afghanistan, and said ‘We know mistakes were made with some of the cases deported from Nauru. Give us your best 20 cases and we’ll reopen them.' Phil Glendenning, Director of Edmund Rice Centre, was thrilled. Not only did he give them 20 cases, he gave them 40.
The Department of Immigration began to open the cases. Then when boat arrivals increased, the Department of Immigration, without warning, closed the cases. Shut. Despite the astonishing acknowledgment by the government that mistakes were made and they were prepared to make things right.
This petition is simply asking the Australian government to reopen the cases they agreed to reopen after admitting they botched some of the cases.
The Australian Government admits that mistakes were made with the decision to deport some Afghani asylum seekers back to Afghanistan from Nauru. The refugees sent back are now in more danger than when they left on their journey to Australia pleading for protection. The mostly Afghani asylum seekers were lied to, manipulated, coerced and in some cases given fake passports and one-way documents to dangerous countries.
By the Australian Government. Our government.
Edmund Rice Centre estimates that at least 20 of the refugees sent back to Afghanistan have been killed and 95% still live in extreme danger. They left their country, wives, children, family and friends behind and took the perilous journey to Australia in the hope of safety and a better life. These men did not come to Australia for ‘lifestyle’, they were seeking asylum because their lives were in danger. The Australian government betrayed them and let them down. Their lives are now in even more danger. Australia breached our duty of care, broke International law and did not honor our commitment to the UN Refugee Convention. And acted in a way that can be described as Unaustralian.
The asylum seekers were told Afghanistan was safe (it wasn’t and still isn’t). They were promised money (which only some received and if they did it was lucky to be half what was promised). They were promised a house and assistance with employment. Didn't happen. The asylum seekers were told if they didn’t agree to deportation, they would be sent to an even worse detention centre (it was never explained where) and told they would never see their families again.
"About 400 Afghans detained on Nauru were returned to Afghanistan after having their asylum claims rejected. They were told by Immigration officials it was safe to go home, and that if they refused, they would remain in detention forever", according to accounts given to Mr. Glendenning.
"Another 400 who refused to go voluntarily were eventually found to be refugees and were resettled in Australia or other countries including New Zealand."
I am writing this while I am looking after my 9yo son who his home sick from school. When he asked me what I was doing, I explained the situation. His response? “But Mum, that’s racism. The government is supposed to be a role model.”
He sat in silence for a while as I tapped away. Eventually he said, “If you ever meet those guys, tell them I support them.” He then went to the DVD player to put Star Wars on. As he turned the machine on he said, ‘Even the DVD player says ‘Welcome’.”
I’ll leave the last words to Phil Glendenning,
“Compassion for these people is currently seen by many as weakness. I see compassion for these people as our most civilizing strength.’
We can make up for some of the mistakes made. Please sign this petition and spread to your networks.
Thank you so much. Peace be with you.
For more info listen to Phil Glendenning talking to Phillip Adams on Late Night Live
Go to Edmund Rice Centre for all the details and stats.
Check out A Well-Founded Fear the moving documentary film follows ERC Director Phil Glendenning to find out what happened to the asylum seekers Australia rejected.
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