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December 13, 2011

SECOND TAMIL DEPORTATION AVERTED BY LEGAL ACTION – REFUGEE ADVOCATES SAY DON’T DEPORT TO DANGER

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

A second attempted removal of a Tamil asylum seeker has been averted after the government gave an undertaking not to remove him until the determination of a High Court case in February 2012.

The undertaking follows the last minute injunction issued by the High Court yesterday (ie Monday 12 December) restraining the Immigration Minister or the Department of Immigration removing another Tamil asylum seeker, 37 year-old, Emil.

In one of closest legal actions to avert a deportation, yesterday’s High Court injunction came only two hours before the Singapore Airlines flight was due to remove Emil from Australia.

Yesterday’s High Court action was the first time an off-shore asylum seeker had been joined to the land mark case scheduled to be heard in February next year. There is now the potential to join any other asylum seekers threatened with deportation to the High Court case.

The High Court decision is another small step for justice for all asylum seekers and for off-shore asylum seekers in particular.

“The High Court case has the potential to be as significant for refugee processing as the M61 case last year that allowed off-shore asylum seekers access to the Australian courts. It will open up even more of the determination process, previously kept behind the scenes, to legal scrutiny. But there will be no real justice until the government desists from forcibly deporting people to danger,” said spokesperson for Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul.

“The government has been handed another opportunity by the courts to reconsider its dangerous policy of deporting asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Neither country is a safe place to return asylum seekers. Nor will they be safe in February next year.

“It also needs to view the cases of all asylum seekers processed under the discriminatory off-shore determination process.

“The Federal Magistrates Court this week declared that at least one of the off-shore refugee assessors, Steve Karas, was biased. He is not the only biased assessor. But behind them is a biased and discriminatory system. We would expect that all off-shore assessments, not just those made by Karas, will now subject to a truly independent review, said Rintoul.

Meanwhile, the case of Ismail Mirza Jan, the first Afghan asylum seeker that the government attempted to deport since signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Afghan government is back in court tomorrow, Wednesday 14 December.

For more information contact, Ian Rintoul, 0417 275 713

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