Friday March 20, 2009 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
Refugees, failed asylum seekers, illegals - AND Scott Parkin
"The Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans, who can be complimented on introducing a Bill in Parliament that brings an end to the shocking legislation that saw thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and other immigration detainees billed and invoiced - often to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars - for having been locked up and jailed in immigration detention centres, should guarantee that each and every computer entry made for those individuals who have incurred this immigration debt in the last couple of years - Customs computer entries that show up at every international airport - is erased and wiped off the computers as soon as possible," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"All over the world, thousands of people who became ensnared by Australia's abysmal immigration detention system since Tampa, have a black mark recorded against them in their passports and in international Customs records with entries relating to an outstanding debt against the Australian Commonwealth," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"These Customs entries and this black mark on the computers of International airports is a serious impediment against these people's freedom to travel internationally, and while the Minister has said that the legislation is not retrospective, he needs to give an absolute guarantee that he will issue an order to have the Customs Department erase these debt entries recorded against these thousands of individuals."
"These Customs entries do not just affect asylum seekers who were deported because Australia didn't want them, but also many other people who were removed from Australia. One of these individuals is US peace activist Scott Parkin, who is reportedly still appealing against his arrest, imprisonment and deportation in total secret circumstances, where ASIO triggered national security clauses and the Anti-terrorism legislation to arrest and deport him."
"Cleaning up Australia's horrid past under John Howard is something that cannot be done with half measures, as also this issue shows. The Minister needs to issue an order to the Minister for Customs to start this procedure, and he needs to set Australia at peace by telling us about this."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]