RAC-ACT calls for Deportations Moratorium
MEDIA RELEASE: DIMIA Bungles and cover-ups combined with Chen
Yonglin's claims make a Moritorium on Deportations Imperative
Refugee Action Committee LPO Box 8287 ANU Canberra Phone: 0409 773572
Tuesday June 7 2005 6am For immediate release No Embargoes
The Refugee Action Committee calls for a moratorium on deportation
without fair and independent hearing of evidence.
On 2 June speaking on ABC TV News, Marion Le, prominent human rights
Advocate, called for a moratorium on deportation until an independent
assessment of each case is carried out. This won quick support from
many Canberrans who have been phoning RAC in the light of Marion's
call and of the request for asylum of the Chinese official, Chen
Many Australians know asylum seekers personally now and have grave
concerns for their safety if deported to countries where there is
insufficient security to keep them safe or where persecution or
torture is endemic.
As one caller expressed it: "The Minister herself admits the
Department is overworked." Marion Le admitted that she has found
sometimes information is not put in to the correct files and
judgements continue to be made on the basis of known errors."
Australians don't expect everyone who asks will be allowed to stay
here but Australians don't want to see on the front pages of an
international newspaper the emaciated body of young Chinese or other
asylum seekers or families deported from Australia because the
department mixed up files or was too busy or too "encultured" to
consider the evidence.
Jane Keogh, a Brigidine Sister who has been advocating for Tang
Xianhui, is very worried about this young Chinese man who recently
rode his bicycle from Melbourne to Canberra in a last ditch bid to
escape what he believes will be three years in one of the notorious
Chinese "re-education" camps where torture is endemic.
Sr Keogh says many have seen the research, the photos, the
testimonies and the pages of United Nations detailed and itemised
reports and believe Tang's chances of being submitted to a daily
regime of torture are about 99%.
"Yet", she says "I phoned the department only to be told that their
evidence from the Department of Defence and Trade says ordinary Falun
Gong people are not in danger.
It would be a joke if a man's life did not depend on it.
It's time the government led DIMIA culture of subterfuge and lying to
either win points or protect trade relationships is undone.
The Government's response to the claims of Chen Yanglin this week
that he could not in conscience continue to persecute
"innocent and socially vulnerable Falun Gong practitioners ... put
into labour camps and forced education courses..(that) have caused a
good number of deaths", is predictible. Leave him out of sight and
we can pretend China isn't following a campaign to obliterate Falun
Gong people through extreme and gruesome torture.
Anyone wanting the facts has only to check the detailed United
Nations Special Reports and survivors' photographic testimonies
assembled at http://www.falunhr.org/reports/UN2004/UN2004.pdf
Copies of these reports and photos were submitted by Tang in his
appeal to have his case reopened.
Our government has recently given Chinese officials access to asylum
seekers in Villawood and Baxter, a move that puts their families in
real danger back in China. If John Howard, Amanda Vanstone and Peter
McGauran put their hands up now to deport Tang Xianhui and the other
genuine Falun Gong people they will have blood on their hands.
We have a system where from behind closed doors, without answering to
anyone, the Minister or someone lower down in the chain can sign
someone to be deported to certain persecution and torture without
ever seriously considering the evidence presented. A closed system in
which no one is answerable is an invitation to mistakes and prejudice
or, in the case of the Chinese or Iranian asylum seekers, to
sacrificing lives for the sake of not embarrassing a trade partner.
RAC also calls on all members of parliament to consider the issue of
deportation and to call in parliament for the precautionary principle
to be invoked until the culture and mistakes of the department of
immigration are identified and addressed.
For more information: Jane Keogh, Refugee Action Committee 02 6249
8613 mobile 0409 773 572
Reference: Marion Le, refuge advocate reported on ABC TV News, 7.30pm
Tuesday 2 June mobile 0419 419 680