Friday August 6 2004 10:15pm WST
For Immediate Release
Today's High Court decision in Canberra has shown up how bad, even 'evil' Australian legislation is, crafted by agents of the Howard government, and it also shows that Australian Courts remain powerless to undo the injustice crafted by politicians"', Project SafeCom spokesman Jack H Smit said today.
"Today the full High Court in Canberra upheld the notion that asylum seekers unable to be returned to the country of origin can be detained forever.
"The notion of this decision has been starkly summarised by cartoonist Judy Horacek on a cartoon postcard, distributed amongst refugee advocates:"
"I have an unjust country,
that locks up refugees,
they come to seek protection,
we throw away the keys."
"Only the undoing and repealing [of these laws] by the next Australian government in office can undo the enormous ramifications of the High Court.
"Politicians have created inhuman[e] and evil legislation - and they need to undo it.
"There is now a need, more urgent than ever, to implement Bills of Rights in every Australian State to help undo this appalling state of affairs, where politicians are able to lock up forever, people who have committed no crime, who came to Australia because our country signed and helped create the International Declaration of Human Rights.
"None of the people we detain forever under this decision have committed any crime - rather the opposite is true - they are people of distinction and courage, who exercised their right to seek a country of asylum.
"This is Australia's inhumane response to asylum seekers 'with initiative'. While many other UN Refugee signatory countries apply secondary determinations, where people who do not fit the narrow UN Convention assessment criteria, Australian governments have consistently refused to apply generosity to those cases.
"Today's court decision is an indictment of the appalling human rights legislation in place in our country, and it needs to be undone.
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]