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There are currently at least 200 asylum seekers who are “out of process” and at risk of deportation. Following the loss of a major case in the High Court recently, the risk of deportations has inched closer. There are still other legal options that should prevent deportations in the short term, but these are unlikely to last indefinitely. Some asylum seekers who are unaware of these legal options may face deportation if advocates are unaware of their cases.

  • If you become aware of any asylum seeker that has been given a “removal notice” please contact Refugee Action Coalition as soon as possible on 0417 275 713.
  • To join RAC’s emergency SMS list to get text message alerts about snap actions in response to deportations message 0438 718 348 or email refugeeactionsyd [at]

Among those facing deportation are many Tamils from Sri Lanka and Afghan Hazaras, including Ismail Mirza Jan (pictured), who is currently in Villawood detention centre.  Given the evidence of the death and danger faced by Afghan Hazaras deported back to Afghanistan under the Howard government, and the deteriorating conditions in Sri Lanka, this is a shocking development.

In July, the government deported Tamil Dayan Antony back to Sri Lanka, despite the evidence from other deportees that they have faced torture there.

Sign our online petition to stop deportations to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka (click on link)

Deportations to death

The Gillard government risks repeating the disastrous record of the Howard government–which deported Afghans back to danger and death. There was a similar freeze on Afghan asylum seekers imposed by the Howard government in late 2001 when the US invaded Afghanistan. Following the invasion, Afghan asylum seekers were deported from Nauru.

Last year the Sydney Morning Herald investigated the fate of refugees from the Tampa, who were turned away from Australia by the navy in 2001. Mostly Hazaras, 179 of them were sent back to Afghanistan. Ten years on, “Up to 20 have been reported killed, dozens more have disappeared.” Of those that have survived, “most live on the fringes, in refugee camps or separated from family in unfamiliar cities.”

One, Sawar, had been home in his village in Ghazni province just a week when a group of men, “took him from his house… dragged him outside and choked him to death with barbed wire.”

Abdul Azmin Rajabi saw his nine and six year old daughters Yalda and Rowena killed as a consequence of his being targeted four months after he was returned.

Ismail’s case

In November the government began moves to deport a 27 year-old Hazara Afghan asylum seeker, Ismail Mirza Jan, from Villawood detention centre to Kabul, Afghanistan. This would be the first forced deportation since the Memorandum of Understanding signed last year.

Ismail fled Afghanistan in 2001, after his father was killed. His province, Wardak, remains notoriously dangerous for Hazaras. Like so many other Hazaras, Ismail has been told he can return to Kabul, but Ismail is not from Kabul. Besides the danger, Ismail has no family, no community ties, no social support and no hope. Neither Ismail nor any other asylum seeker should be returned to Afghanistan.

Further information

Deported to Danger reports produced by the Edmund Rice Centre (ERC)
The ERC has produced two detailed reports investigating the fate of asylum seekers deported by the Howard government, including many to Afghanistan. They are available online at or visit

A Well Founded Fear
A documentary film has also been produced based on the work of the ERC, which screened on SBS in 2008

The Tampa: ten years on
The Sydney Morning Herald investigation ten years after on the Tampa is online at

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