Sunday December 19 2004 11:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Refugee lobby and advocacy group Project SafeCom today welcomes ALP's Laurie Ferguson's planned visit for tomorrow to the Baxter detention centre," spokesman Jack H Smit said today.
"The recent ALP appointee to the Shadow Immigration portfolio, who expressed concern according to media reports this week about the possibility that the Bakhtiary family could be forcibly deported from Australia, is reported to plan a visit to the detention centre on Monday."
Recently Sarah Stephen of Green Left Weekly reported (GLW, Dec 1 2004): "Following Mahzer Ali's forcible deportation from Australia in July 2003, he obtained documents proving that Roqia Bakhtiyari was from a village in the Jaghoori district of Ghazni and that all her children were born in Afghanistan. Her identity was confirmed by the residents and the statement signed by the district governor," and Ms Stephen gave "a clear summation of what has amounted to a Trial by Media, assisted and encouraged by former Immigration minister Philip Ruddock", Mr Smit stated.
"The children claim they're Hazaras from Afghanistan. The family claims they're from Afghanistan. Refugee advocates claim that it's overwhelmingly evident they're from Afghanistan. Isn't it time that DIMIA and the government come clean on what exactly happened? Hasn't the family suffered enough?"
"We wish Mr Ferguson well for his visit. Although he cannot undo the damage done to the family by the former immigration minister, continued through to the current minister and her department, he can, and surely would want to, uncover fraudulent nationality and language assessments, and serious hostility against those who come here to seek protection, even more so if it takes place in his own electorate."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
[phone number posted]
Sarah Stephen, Government uses false documents to discredit Bakhtiyaris (Green Left Weekly, Dec 1 2004)