Thursday October 27, 2008 10:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"The re-opening of the case files of those asylum seekers who have been deported under the Howard government from Nauru is warmly welcomed, and we're applauding the Minister for Immigration with this important step in tackling some gross mismanagement of work by the Immigration Department at that time," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning, following reports in the Sydney Morning Herald (see hyperlinks below).
"Even more important than that are perhaps the references by the Minister to the reactions by the Immigration Department to the Edmund Rice Centre documentary "A Well Founded Fear", where he clearly creates distance between himself and the Immigration Department."
"Project SafeCom has repeatedly stated that there are still forces in the Immigration Department that have been agents in the heinous treatment of asylum seekers during the Howard years."
"Just two weeks ago I reported statements from a whistleblower in the Immigration Department in my testimony to the Inquiry into Immigration Detention hearings in Perth. The fact that the Minister now has demanded a full briefing from Immigration, is a positive step in both cleaning out the Department, confronting some shocking things that took place inside it, and seeking to redress some shocking injustices that took place in terms of deportations to places of danger of those who sought our help."
"We cannot bring people back from the dead, but we can bring the deadwood to the surface in the Department, and who can bring those who doled out deadly injustice in deportations to justice and bring them to account."
"Even more important than that is, that we can also bring those back to Australia who are still living in danger and whose asylum claims have been dealt with in a manipulative way during the Howard years."
Project SafeCom's Testimony from Whistleblowers, including HANSARD transcript:
Afghans sent home to die (Sydney Morning Herald, Cynthia Banham October 27, 2008)
It's hell for Afghans we rejected (Sydney Morning Herald, Cynthia Banham October 27, 2008)
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]