Sunday July 31, 2011 9:00pm WST
For Immediate Release
"The arrival and interception this morning of a boat with 54 passengers off Scott Reef as the first vessel under Australia's so-called 'Malaysia solution' could be depicted as another "Voyage of the Damned", a label first used more than seventy years ago during the Holocaust. It was first used to depict the vessels fleeing Nazi Germany which were declared unwelcome and sent away by many western countries," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"With its shocking 'Malaysia solution' the Gillard government has implemented a policy response to deeply embedded racism and xenophobia in sections of the community, and our government is feeding and nurturing Australia's neurotic national fears of invasion. Instead of embarking on a national education campaign detailing international legal rights of 'unauthorised arrivals' as defined in the UN Refugee Convention, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's policy to punish and deter future boat arrivals by banning the passengers to Malaysia, which has been named "the world's worst country for refugees", confirms his own dysfunction and Julia Gillard's racism and her incapacity to lead the nation," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"This morning on ABC Insiders, the diverse panel of journalists showed the same remarkable agreement in condemning the deal, just like the entire House of Representatives and the Senate did when it condemned the Gillard Labor government over the deal in recent months. Bowen and Gillard are digging in their heels about this shameful policy, but - as was also suggested on ABC Insiders - reporters from all media outlets have a duty to follow the passengers to Malaysia and shine a harsh spotlight on the deal that is not a deal at all. ABC Insiders also noted that the 'deal' is not legally binding, that it is not a Memorandum of Understanding at all. Malaysia can do whatever it likes with the passengers, there is no protection under the deal - and what is abundantly clear is that Bowen and Gillard are undermining the Refugee Convention on all levels with this deportation deal."
"Today is another deeply shameful day for Australia's treatment of boat arrivals."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
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