By Pamela Curr, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Immigration raids and re-detentions have begun across Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide this weekend. Immigration cars are watching houses where people are living lawfully on community detention conditions and bridging visas. There is fear among community based asylum seekers as those called to appointments are then seized and taken back to detention centres. These are men who have been detained in isolated detention centres already for more than two years which compounds their terror of being taken again.

When one person in a house goes to a DIAC (Immigration) and then does not return it sends fear into those left behind. In some instances they then have gone to stay elsewhere because they are unable to bear the waiting for their turn to come when they too will be taken. One man tried to return to get his papers on the weekend but saw the DIAC cars waiting for him so he spent the night in a park in fear. Other men who have cases filed in the court so cannot by law be deported and who would not normally be detained, have been told that they will be locked up no matter what. Their house has been raided three times since Friday.

The ordinary rules have changed. DIAC orders are now to raid, capture and detain those on community detention. In addition there are a large number of Hazaras whose bridging visas cease on the 29th November and who are being told to go to DIAC offices with an airline ticket and passport for return to Afghanistan.

Currently there are three legal cases on foot which may affect these men’s status. It would seem that DIAC are acting before this can happen.

The two groups at risk are the Tamil and Hazara asylum seekers. The common factors in their cases are that they have not had a fair go. These cases were judged under the IMR system which has been discontinued and discredited. Some of the reviewers have been named in Court as showing “bias” and criticised for the decisions they handed down.  There was no redress for those whose cases did not get to the court but who were refused by the same reviewer on the same spurious grounds. An unofficial, un-documented PRE-process which was put together to quietly fix the terrible decisions only operated from BOAT 175 onwards. This has left a pool of people who fell outside both the faulty system and the faulty system fix. The difficulty in finding a lawyer and get to court because they were detained in far off WEIPA or Curtin detention centres has further cruelled any chance for a fair go.

These men also missed out on the Complementary protection provision which was introduced in March this year. This means that their cases were not examined against the torture convention or other international human rights conventions leaving them further at risk. Political edict saw the acceptance rates of Hazaras go from 99% in 2009/2010 to 30% in 2010/2011 be ministerial decree as the boat numbers grew. We have seen the same cases detailing persecution on grounds of ethnicity, religion and political belief dismissed because of political considerations when if they had arrived six months earlier they would have been accepted.  The statistical evidence screams politics rather than fair assessment in the treatment of these men.

What is most egregious about the kangaroo court injustice they have received is revealed in reading their cases.  We see case after case where the reviewer says that they accept that the asylum seeker is a “credible witness”, that the reviewer accepts that Family members were killed by the Taliban, that brothers and fathers disappeared at the hands of the Taliban, that the letters threatening them are genuine but still they refuse them on the grounds that they can “relocate” elsewhere or on the grounds of the DFAT cable which claims that Hazaras are experiencing a “golden age”. It is unbelievable that such bare faced political concoctions can be used to dismiss refugee applications but this is the reality.

NO SPIN OR GLOSS CAN HIDE THE FACT that people are about to be sent home to die for Australian political purposes.

P.S. Enablers in DIAC and the Government have got around the fact that the Afghan Ambassador, a decent man, has not obliged by providing travel documents to return Hazaras to Kabul. Enablers have found someone in Kabul the capital of corruption who is obliging! The Australian government’s cosy relationship with the Sri Lankan embassy and lashings of cash to the SL government for boats and surveillance equipment has been rewarded with compliance.

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