IMMIGRATION MINISTER URGED TO HALT DEPORTATION OF CHINESE FAMILY
Media Release, October 28 2010
Refugee advocates have called on the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, to act urgently to prevent the deportation of a Chinese family, scheduled to be removed from Villawood detention centre tomorrow morning (Friday 29 October).
Last minute efforts are being made to get new information to the Minister documenting the danger that faces the underground Christian family if they are returned.
The second son of the family, resident in China, was only recently released from a re-education camp after seven months following his arrest for holding an unlawful gathering of an underground Christian community.
The man’s brother was arrested and questioned when he recently returned to China, by authorities who mistook him for his brother in Villawood. A summons to appear in court in China has now been delivered to the family in China. A copy of the summons has been sent to the Minister.
The family has been in Australia for eight and half years, meaning the 17 year-old son has spent his formative years in Australia.
“Humanitarian grounds alone should be enough for the Minister to act. But the Minister has also said that complementary protection legislation would be introduced before the end of the year to provide protection for people who fall outside the strict convention grounds for refugee status. It is straight hypocrisy for the Minister to announce this legislation yet refuse to halt the removal of people who might fit the criteria,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“It is obvious that the family is under surveillance by authorities and that the man is wanted in China. This should rule out any question that the family can be safely sent back to China.
Australia has an obligation under the Refugee Convention and the Convention on Torture and not to refoule (return) an asylum seeker to danger.
“We are urging the Minister to act immediately to stop the deportation of this family. China is not safe. The human rights abuses by the Chinese government are well-documented. There have been too many instances of so-called failed asylum seekers being returned to disappear, be arrested, or killed. The Minister should stop playing with asylum seekers’ lives,” said Ian Rintoul.
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713