Thursday January 27 2005 12:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
"West Australian refugee lobby group Project SafeCom today calls for a transparent bi-partisan sign-off committee, headed by the judiciary to control and check removals and forced deportations of failed asylum seekers."
"In the context of a witness story of a forced deportation reported by the ABC Investigative Unit, where a failed asylum seeker, shackled on both hands and feet as well as gagged with gaffer tape was a passenger on a flight to Bangkok, the group calls for an end to the lack of public accountability of the DIMIA Removals as well as its Compliance Branch, where it does "as it pleases" using existing regulations, without politicians, the public or even its own minister being made aware of what it does."
"It's time to end the 'supreme reign' of some bureaucrats who feel fine about playing with the human rights standards during deportations, while the record of their department in terms of accuracy of refugee assessment is rather shocking."
"Through intervention by refugee advocates and supporters, Australia is still correcting erroneous decisions by Departmental staff in DIMIA after in some cases four or five years of detention. Even after all these years of unjust suffering in harsh detention, these reviews result in discovering that public servants declaring asylum seekers were not refugees, had it wrong."
"The first person who pointed at this massive error rate by DIMIA assessors of between 62% and 87% was Jesuit priest Frank Brennan in 2002."
"All the way through up till today, these errors permeate through the processing chain, and we are more likely to also unjustly deport people, and this needs to highest level of scrutiny and double-checks before we commit to it."
"Deportations should need approval by a judge and a court, that has full access to the entire determination process, that applies all international human rights and UN Refugee Convention codifications, and that calls for submissions from the public before it goes ahead with the removal process. Also DIMIA lives in a democracy, and it should be made to feel that, whether these public servants like it or not."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]