Visa Changes attempt to expel traumatised refugees

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130

Visa Changes attempt to expel traumatised refugees

Media Release
Tuesday August 24 2004 15:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"Today's detailing of the changes announced by Immigration minister Amanda Vanstone confirm observations expressed by Project SafeCom immediately when the changes were first announced - that the Howard government uses a utilitarian philosophy and divides up its asylum policy cake between 'deserving and undeserving' refugees, where it should instead apply full UN Protection status to genuine refugees", Project SafeCom's Jack H Smit said today.

"The changes are fine for some, but more cruelty for many others who have already been declared to be genuine refugees."

"Those who survived the horrendous cruelty of going through detention, often for years, while being 'in process', and who then enter the community - experiencing the TPV period as a further harrowing and damaging time in the Australian community - this while their wives and children are barred from joining them in our country do not need a "work or community integration test" - they need permanent protection and also healing through counselling and therapy, often for many years."

"The visa changes bypasses the tremendous psychological damage inflicted by Australian refugee policy, thus creating a class of refugees, who eventually have nothing left open to them but the "return pending visa, the subtle message of 'please, bugger off from our country'."

"The policy change as detailed by the Immigration Minister has as one of its purposes to make the most damaged refugees disappear from Australia - rather that, than risking lawsuits and legal compensation cases, started by those refugees against the Australian government."

"The government, once again, has embarked on a 'policy fix' that includes sleight of hand - and the government should be condemned for the tricks it plays with refugees who need our complete and permanent protection."

For more information:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

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