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October 5, 2012

REFUGEE GROUPS CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ASIO NEGATIVE REFUGEES

by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed the decision of the High Court today that it is unlawful for the Minister to refuse a protection visa on the basis of a refugee being given a negative ASIO finding.

“It is a small victory for justice and common sense. These people have already been found to be refugees. Despite them being refugees, some of them have been in detention three years. The High Court has now said that the Minister has not had a lawful reason to deny them a visa.

“The ball is now in the Minister’s court. Adverse ASIO assessments are no reason to deny refugees a protection visa. The Minister must now act immediately to actually grant them protection visas and release them from detention,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“It is also now clear from the court case that a negative ASIO assessment does not mean that a refugee was an actual threat to the Australian community. The Minister has hidden behind ASIO negative findings. The government has allowed an impression in the wider community that ASIO negative findings meant that these people were a threat to Australian society in some way. There was an impression that they could be terrorists. That is not the case, and the government owes them an apology.

“The question of the right of refugees to challenge adverse ASIO findings still remains to be addressed by the government. The Attorney-General must also now change the law that has denied natural justice to refugees and move to allow refugees the same rights as Australian citizens.”

“The treatment of these refugees has been exceedingly cruel. The speedy resolution of their protection visas is the least the Minister can do to rectify the injustice of their detention. Their detention has robbed them and their children of years of their lives and opportunities to start a new life. They are entitled to compensation for the misery that the government has inflicted on them.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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