Wednesday January 16, 2007 9:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"Too many aspects of the Rudd Labor government's policies are still drowned in the stench of the cruel undermining of John Howard's undermining of the rights of asylum seekers to seek Australia's help, and the most grotesque example of this very dark period in Australia's history is John Howard's Christmas Island detention centre, where Immigration Minister Chris Evans is making a visit today, and it should close," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"In supporting the half a billion refugee jail on Christmas Island, which is of John Howard's design and making, Immigration Minister Chris Evans is perpetuating John Howard's dark legacy, and Kevin Rudd is making his theological hero Dietrich Bonhoeffer turn in his grave," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Jailing asylum seekers on Christmas Island is prohibitively expensive, keeping asylum claimants thousands of miles away from the Australian community is cruel, and making it near impossible for them to get quick and independent legal support on the remote island undermines the rule of law," Mr Smit said.
"The Rudd government should return the treatment of potential asylum seekers to the rule of law, where no innocent man, woman and child will be jailed, it should return the image of asylum claimants to the openness and generosity by Australians it deserves, and it should abandon Christmas Island for the purpose John Howard intended it: to inflict pain and torture, and to damage people for life in order to send a message to people smugglers."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]