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September 28, 2012

GOVERNMENT NAURU SELECTION DISCRIMINATING AGAINST SRI LANKAN ASYLUM SEEKERS; DISTRESS LEVELS RISING IN DETENTION CENTRES

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The latest transfer of 31 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Nauru confirms that the government is discriminating against those from Sri Lanka, according to the Refugee Action Coalition.

The lack of transparency in the process and the discriminatory way in which the selection is being made is also creating enormous levels of distress within Australian detention centres.

“Of the 151 sent to Nauru, 127 are Sri Lankan. This is a serious disproportion of Sri Lankans and puts a question mark over the government’s selection procedures. Sri Lankans are clearly being discriminated against. The question the government has to answer is ‘Why?’ Do they think they can coerce one or two more Sri Lankans to go back to the repressive Rajapaksa regime?” asked Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Not only is the government’s policy discriminatory, it is also guilty of inflicting cruel punishment on those who arrived after 13 August but who have not been sent to Nauru. Leaving those people in limbo is creating a great deal of distress.

“The government must immediately begin processing those who arrived after 13 August. The government is only delaying the inevitable. With 150 asylum seekers on Nauru, the government has filled its temporary quota. With over 3000 asylum seekers arriving since 13 August, Nauru is full twice over.

“The government’s policy is simply creating a large pool of people that have the threat of Nauru held over their heads. By refusing to process families or unaccompanied minors the government is making a mockery of its policy of detaining families and children as a last resort.

“It knows that there are no facilities for families or children on Nauru. They are just inflicting more misery on families and children in Australian detention centres. Nauru is a discriminatory and costly human rights failure.

“It’s time for the Minister to end the farce and begin processing the asylum seekers that are Australia’s responsibility.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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