Friday September 14, 2012 9:00am WST
For Immediate Release
• Chris Bowen sneakily hides from the courts
• Boats are not slowing, but monthly number only increases - with good reasons
• 150th boat brings 10,000th asylum seeker for 2012
"The decision to 'deport' those asylum seekers who arrive 'uninvited' in Australia to seek UN protection to Nauru has not only created a legal conundrum Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has abysmally failed to come clean with and come to terms with thus far, it has also transformed him into a secretive operator who derives his modus operandi from the deeply entrenched manipulative culture within the Immigration Department - a department that sneaks around the Australian Courts, that moves with secrecy to avoid being called to account by the Australian Courts and - as we've seen on many, many occasions in the last 2 decades - that tries to outpace the threats of legal challenges, often (but not only) around forced deportations," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"As the first planeload of Sri Lankans has now arrived on Nauru, the passengers reportedly selected from recent arrivals because they had been assessed as 'compliant' rather than 'troublemakers', it has come to light that the initial plans to touch down in Darwin after departing from Christmas Island were abandoned for fear of a last-minute injunction by the courts," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
The purpose of Gillard and Bowen's offshore processing policy of "stopping the boats" has not only failed to produce any results, but a contrary response has occurred in the last couple of months. While boat arrivals from January to April this year were relatively low, with five, nine, three and 14 boats respectively, May, June and July saw 14, then 26 and 30 boats arrive, while in August an all-time high of 32 boats were intercepted. September has thus far brought 17 boats, while yesterday's arrival of 148 passengers was boat number 150 for the year, bringing the 10,000th arrival for 2012 [see link 1].
"The increase in arrivals appears directly linked to first the increased pressure from Pakistani authorities on displaced Afghan Hazaras with explicit statements that they will all be forced to return to Afghanistan, and to ongoing targeted killings in Quetta and other locations in Pakistan. Hazaras are running for their lives once again, while Australian Hazaras report that tens of thousands are leaving by whatever means to reach the safety of Europe, the US or other locations. While Australia shamefully has embargoed any mention of the scandals in the Sri Lankan government, boat arrivals show a massive increase of arrivals for Sri Lankan Tamils in recent months. Today, the UK Independent [see link 2] reports that Human Rights Watch has produced evidence of torture for returned Tamil asylum seekers, who 'were subsequently tortured including ... rape, beatings and victims being burnt with hot metal rods'."
"The Gillard government, in collusion with the Coalition, has today commenced on another descent into the abyss of serious human rights abuses in relation to asylum seekers who seek Australia's protection. Chris Bowen needs reminding that no matter what he constructs in or outside the Migration Act, he, nor the Australian Prime Minister, can ever escape the responsibility for asylum seekers who reach the border of Australia. If he denies his personal responsibility or tries to offload it to Nauru, then eventually the Australian High Court will catch up with him."
 "Hundreds of refugees sent back to Sri Lanka to face torture". Jerome Taylor, The Independent, UK, Friday 14 September 2012
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]