In March 2003, the Australian Department of Immigration started intimidating detainees from Iran to sign repatriation papers, or be deported within 28 days against their consent.
Following a national phone conference of representatives of refugee advocacy, support and action groups on Saturday May 17, in which 37 people from around Australia participated, several action working
groups have being formed who will engage in developing many forms of urgent action around the country during the coming period, relating to the overt and brutal intimidation and threats made by ACM/DIMIA and
the Immigration Minister to deport asylum seekers in detention centres as well as those on TPV's.
The 37 participants represented many refugee groups from all States and territories around Australia. They have formed the National Anti-Deportation Alliance (NADA).
29 August 2004: Cork vs ACM: Operation Long Haul, a Forced Deportation - Sometimes reports of forced deportations appear at unlikely places, in this case a transcript of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission of an unfair dismissal claim against Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) after a deportation of 31 immigration 'removees' from Australia.
12 January 2005: The man with the gag: witnessing a forced deportation - It had to happen sooner or later: someone on a flight, bound, gagged and muffled, moved under the highest secrecy, deported by force, not only with duct tape over his mouth, but the entire story covered up. Using the Christmas holidays, the absence of the lawyers, the expected silence of those advocates that can block their work...
18 August 2003: Two NADA News broadcasts on 3CR Community Radio - Two members of the National Anti-Deportation Alliance, recently formed in Australia, talk on-air at 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne, discussing the highly questionable practice of forced deportations and chemical restraints.
15 March 2003: Self harm: answer to Government torture and powerlessness in detention - Indefinite incarceration of people without a criminal charge is one of the world's most severe breaches of International Human Rights conventions, yet this is what Australia does with the asylum seekers who, under the 'stitched-up' Migration Act, have been excluded from becoming successful in their determination by Australia as refugees. This page highlights the situation of some of the Iranian asylum seekers held in detention centres around Australia.
Open Letter from all Iranian detainees in Baxter IDC
Baxter, Port Augusta SA
Friday 22 August 2003
Dear Prime Minister and all Australian People,
This letter is from all us poor Iranians here at Baxter, which is our prison. I have told this letter to my friend on the telephone because now we have no time. It is Friday night and we are all very frightened because they tell us that tomorrow we will be deported by force to our country.
So tonight we cannot sleep. We pray that something will save us and we try to help each other. We are real human beings and fathers and sons and husbands. We did not leave our country and our family for getting rich or big adventure. We must leave because our government is a dictatorship that tortures and kills its own people like it was in Iraq and we see on television how they open the graves of the poor tortured people. All the governments and the United Nations know that the Iranian government has no respect for human rights.
We ask for help from the government in Australia. We ask that you see that we cannot go back to Iran because we are too afraid of the torture and prison we will have to go to. Many of us have already lost family or have brothers and fathers in prison in Iran. Because we have not always explained our situation in the best way for DIMIA officers to understand, they say that we have failed and are not real refugees and the court cannot help us.
In our country, we tried to have democracy and freedom but we have been put in prison for it. Then we came here because Australia is a democratic country, but they put us in prison, too. How can we show you that we are not bad people?
Sometimes, some of us have been too stressed and sometimes we broke something in detention. We are sorry for that. We are not violent people; only sometimes we cannot endure this prison hell here any more.
Now nobody is coming to Australia anymore and your government has fulfilled its wish. But we have suffered for almost 3 years for this policy and we have suffered enough. If it would be possible for us to go home, we would have gone a long time ago even before your government offered us money to go away. But we cannot. If you will not let us stay here, please send us to some other country. A poor country or any country. We will go anywhere but we cannot go back to Iran.
We need your help in this terrible situation. Please help us and stop this deportation of us. We beg you from our heart. Signed by some of the Iranians.
Some Iranian residents
in the Baxter detention centre
Some pages on our website have more information about what Iranian asylum seekers are faced with upon return. Government torture: indefinite incarceration and deportation is a page with some material outlining Iran's forms of torture, while Cry Freedom includes some letters by Iranians.
Files available for download
National Anti-Deportation Alliance Documents
- National Anti-Deportation Alliance Logo - The NADA Logo, designed by Deborah Kelly. (PDF File 52 Kb)
- National Anti-Deportation Alliance Anti-Deportation Help Card - A pocket-size Alert Card with the "covert" phone number of the Alliance, as sent to everyone in the Baxter Detention Centre. (PDF File 13 Kb)
- NADA Information Form for People at Risk of Deportation - National Anti-Deportation Alliance Information Request Form. "This form, like any other documents you receive, should only be completed after consultation with a trusted friend or advocate..." (PDF File 112 Kb)
- National Anti-Deportation Alliance says: No Forced Deportations - National Anti-Deportation Alliance says "No Forced Deportations" as Iranian deadline looms. A Media Release from May 26 2003. (PDF File 73 Kb)
- Petition: Statement of Intent to Stop Forced Deportations - A 2-column layout National Anti-Deportation Alliance Petition to the House of Parliament: "We, a national alliance of refugee and asylum seeker advocates, community supporters, legal advisers and activists declare our intent to fight deportations." (WORD document 32 Kb)
- Leaflet: Statement of Intent to Stop Forced Deportations - National Anti-Deportation Alliance Leaflet: "We will make the Australian government accountable for its deeds in and out of detention centres. These callous crimes will not be committed in our name." (WORD document 38 Kb)
- Leaflet: Statement of Intent to Stop Forced Deportations - National Anti-Deportation Alliance Leaflet: "We will make the Australian government accountable for its deeds in and out of detention centres. These callous crimes will not be committed in our name." (PDF File 81 Kb)
- National Anti-Deportation Alliance: No deportations to Iran! - Petition to the Hon Speaker and members of the House of Representatives: "Your petitioners wish to point out that the government of Iran is highly repressive, and that respected human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have reported..." (WORD Rich Text Format 7 Kb)
Other Action & Resource Documents
- Using direct action to prevent the forcible deportation of asylum seekers - The question "How can we use direct action to prevent the forcible deportation of Asylum Seekers through Perth?" became a call for a large networking phone-in meeting from Western Australia. Document provides a good summary of important anti-deportation considerations. (PDF File 10 Kb)
- ACTU International Committee Opposes Refugee Deportations - Statement from the ACTU International Committee to ACTU Executive (July 4, 2003). "Considering that forcible deportations involve life or death situations, violate international treaties and obligations, risks inflicting further persecution upon asylum seekers and is fundamentally unjust, this ACTU International Committee meeting resolves..." (WORD document 22 Kb)
- Australian Council of Trade Unions alert to Airline Unions - A deportation alert flyer, issued by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). Comprises printable document of 2 x A5 flyers for handing to Airline Staff - two flyers about forced deportations, two flyers about the Bakhtiyari Family. (WORD document 28 Kb)
- Uniting Church: Government seeks to Deport Iranian Asylum Seekers - Briefing and Action strategy document of The Uniting Church in Australia. "The Australian Government has failed to recognise Iranian Christian asylum seekers as refugees. Religious persecution remains a problem in Iran. Groups that have been particularly targeted have been Muslims that have converted to Christianity, evangelical Protestant Christians, members of the Baha'i faith and Muslims that dissent from the ruling clerical establishment." (WORD document 53 Kb)
- Complaint Form to the Committee Against Torture - Complaint Form to the Committee Against Torture, a formal document for communications under article 22 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. From UNIYA, the Jesuit Refugee Service. (WORD document 32 Kb)
- United Nations Convention against Torture General Comment One - From UNHCR, Implementation of article 3 of the Convention against Torture in the context of article 22 - 21/11/97. Convention against Torture (CAT) General comment 1. The Committee against Torture "shall consider communications received under article 22 in the light of all information made available to it by or on behalf of the individual and by the State party concerned". (PDF File 53 Kb)
- UNIYA Memo: Complaint to the UN Committee Against Torture - UNIYA Jesuit Social Justice Centre Memo: "Once all available domestic remedies have been exhausted, a complaint could be communicated on behalf of an Iranian asylum seeker to the Committee Against Torture to decide whether their forced deportation violates the obligation of Australia under article 3 of the Torture Convention..." (WORD document 70 Kb)
- UN Fact Sheet: Procedures for 1503 Complaint or Optional Protocol - Fact Sheet No.7: "A consistent pattern of violations" (the 1503 procedure); the Optional Protocol procedure - Anyone may bring a human rights problem to the attention of the United Nations. This fact sheet explains the procedures, and the ways open to individuals and groups who want the United Nations to take action on a human rights situation that is of concern to them. (WORD document 67 Kb)
- Heads of Churches in WA to Christians contemplating offering refugees Sanctuary - "Furthermore we recognise that there may be members of our Christian congregations, who, through prayer and reflection, decide that they must obey the teachings of Jesus and offer sanctuary to asylum seekers currently on TPVs in the community who are in danger of being deported from Australia." (WORD document 27 Kb)
- Project SafeCom's Refugee Day 2003 Aussie Tourist Quiz - A quiz, to be handed out at Airports and Backpackers' places around Australia, with prizes for three winners - non-Australian tourists and travellers. (WORD document 63 Kb)
- UNHCR Media Relations London: Statement Responding to Forcible Return of Afghans - A UNHCR statement in response to first forcible returns of Afghans by the UK Government on 28 April 2003. (PDF File 140 Kb)
- No Deportations to Iran - Perth Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) - Flyer from the Perth Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN). "Detainees in South Australia's Baxter detention centre were told on Monday April 28 that they had 28 days to accept voluntary return or face the dire consequences of involuntary repatriation." (PDF File 77 Kb)
- Flyer for Arriving Passengers at Airports - Distribution Flyer from the Perth Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) used at Perth International Airport, in Melbourne and in Sydney. (PDF File 9 Kb)
- Flyer for Departing Passengers at Airports - Distribution Flyer from the Perth Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) used at Perth International Airport, in Melbourne and in Sydney. (PDF File 12 Kb)
- Report by the Australian Senate: Removals From Australia - Chapter 10 of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee's Report 'Sanctuary Under Review'. The full report can be accessed on the Parliament of Australia website at this location. (PDF File 12 Kb)
- Uniting Church Report on Deaths following Deportation - Report by the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) on deaths following removal from Australia. The document contains two deportation case studies. (WORD document 49 Kb)
- UK Institute of Race Relations: Deaths During Deportation - Analysis: Deaths during forced deportation. By Liz Fekete, The Institute of Race Relations (January 2003). The report contains case details of nine deaths during forced deportations in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, France, Austria and the United Kingdom. (WORD document 51 Kb)
- C v Australia: UN Communication No 900 - Report of the UN Human Rights Committee in relation to an Assyrian Christian Asylum Seeker in Port Phillip Prison (WORD document, 81Kb)
- Noone should be deported without an independent review - Refugee Action Committee Canberra: Letter to DIMIA Staff, Canberra, 24 May 2003. (WORD document, 43Kb)
- Media Release: Threatened removal of Iranian Asylum Seekers - Uniting Church of Australia, WA Synod Office, Media Release 28 May 2003. (WORD document, 53Kb)