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July 28, 2010


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media release July 28, 2010

Refugee groups are horrified that the government intends to use shonky travel documents to remove a 32 year old Sudanese man, Joel Aggrey Bulabeki from Perth detention centre this (Wednesday) afternoon. Mr Bulabeki has been in detention for two and half years.

Mr Bulabeki has consistently stated that he is Sudanese, yet the government is deporting him to Tanzania.

“Julia Gillard rails about people smugglers but is quite content for the government to use dodgy documents from a shipping company. It is sheer hypocrisy. Joel has never lived in Tanzania,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“This man has no papers. He is stateless. He was left as a child in Kenya when his parents fled the war in Sudan. Our understanding is that the government is now using a document from the same shipping company that Joel stowed away with, to falsely claim that Mr Bulabeki is Tanzanian.”

“The government is deporting him to definite danger. Joel faces certain jail if he arrives in Tanzania without proper authorization,” said Ian Rintoul.

Previous contact with the Tanzanian Embassy indicated they had no interest in Mr Bulabeki. The Tanzanian Consulate in Perth today told the Refugee Action Coalition they had no knowledge of Mr Bulabeki or the government’s intention to deport him.

The Tanzanian Embassy in Japan would not confirm that travel documents, of any sort, had been issued for Mr Bulabeki.

Despite last minute appeals and a recommendation from the Commonwealth Ombudsman that Mr Bulabeki not be removed, it seems the government is intent on removing Mr Bulabeki today (Wednesday) at 4.00pm.

“This was a practice we thought had been ended with the end of the Howard government. A similar incident saw a man deported with false documents to Tanzania in 2003, only to be imprisoned there before eventually being returned from South Africa to Australia. The Edmund Rice Centre has also documented the Howard government’s use of false documents to remove people from Australia.”

“From the start of the election campaign, Julia Gillard has been proposing things like the regional processing centre to avoid Australia’s obligations to asylum seekers, when she should be ensuring that their rights are upheld in Australia. Australia has an obligation to the Refugee Convention not to refoule asylum seekers.

“We are calling on the government to act urgently to stop this deportation.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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