Friday October 26, 2011 9:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"As suggestions of Sri Lankan war crimes encircle CHOGM and the Sri Lankan government while Tamil asylum seeker "Shooty" committed suicide overnight in the Villawood detention centre, ASIO's shocking handling of security assessment for asylum seekers should come under serious question with the passing of this already "approved" refugee in our midst," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Blind Freddie can see that ASIO, when faced with the complex task of establishing security credentials around Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing from a country racked with civil strife between the majority government and Tamil minority refugees wedged between government and Tamil independence fighters, should take its advice from UNHCR, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, yet it is well-known that ASIO takes its advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Australian diplomatic sources and Australian government interests. In the case of Sri Lankan refugees, ASIO's credibility comes under serious question, but Australia abysmally fails its democratic accountability test vis-a-vis ASIO's high and mighty arrogance and secrecy: nobody in Australia can subject ASIO to questioning in how the organisation reaches its conclusions," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Last Monday Australians learnt from the ABC Four Corners program that the Immigration Department gets it wrong 75% of the time when assessing asylum seekers. That is a shocking failure rate. What about ASIO? What are the implications if ASIO would also get it wrong 75% of the time? Overnight we have seen the implications of ASIO's secrecy work."
"Even ASIO does not believe that mandatory detention ought to apply to those subject to its security assessment process, as it testified in a recent Parliamentary Inquiry. Keeping people locked up against all mental health expert advice is the dirty job of the other bastion of arrogance and autocratic rule in Australia - the nasty lock-em-up Immigration Department. Between the two of them, these organisations have created a lethal cocktail. The loss of Shooty overnight in Villawood is the latest example of that deadly drink of suffering."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
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