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November 11, 2010

REFUGEE SYSTEM IS FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED: LABOR MUST END OFFSHORE PROCESSING, CLOSE CHRISTMAS ISLAND

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media Release November 11, 2010

Refugee groups have welcomed the unanimous High Court decision declaring the present offshore processing invalid.

“The court’s decision has confirmed what refugee advocates have been saying all along – that offshore processing is discriminatory and subject to political manipulation. The government should apologise to every asylum seeker whose rights have been denied.

“It should immediately make arrangements to ensure the safety and the return to of all those who were deported after being denied refugee status under this flawed system,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Hundreds of rejected asylum seekers are immediately affected by this decision. The government must state explicitly that it will not move to deport any asylum seeker until their case can be properly determined.

“Instead of scrapping off-shore processing in 2007, successive Labor governments left the flawed arrangements of the Howard government in place. Refugees have paid a high price for their lack of political courage.

“Julia Gillard and Chris Bowen should announce a far-reaching review of the Migration Act and most importantly change the law to reflect the High Court decision.

“The High Court decision gives the government the opportunity to finally take the decisive action needed to establish a humanitarian refugee policy – to close Christmas Island, end offshore processing and mandatory detention.

“While the High Court has now declared that refugee determinations must be done according to principles established by Australian courts, it has left in place the possibility for two streams of refugee assessments. The Minister can still make particular arrangements for so-called “offshore persons”.

“To remove the possibility of further discrimination, the government has to end the excision of Christmas Island and other Australian territory from the effects of the Migration Act.

“The Minister seems to be playing “damage control”. That’s not good enough. What’s needed is a fundamental review of a fundamentally flawed system.”

NO DEPORTATION PROTEST

The Refugee Action Coalition has called a protest beginning at 12.30 tomorrow at the Henry Deane Plaza (Railway Square end of Central railway tunnel) and then moving to the Immigration Department offices, 26 Lee Street, City). Speakers at the rally include The Greens representative Sylvia Hale, Reverend Mee Ping Lau, lawyer Julian Gormly, and refugee speakers.

The protest will be highlighting the High Court decision and calling for an end to forcible deportations. In particular, the rally will call on the Immigration Minister to intervene to prevent the deportation of a Chinese underground Christian. Among other things, new information including a summons issued by the Chinese Public Security Bureau for her husband to appear in court has not been considered by the Minister. The father and son of the family were deported to China in the last week of October.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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