Tuesday July 28, 2008 12:00pm WST
For Immediate Release
"WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom tonight warmly congratulates Kevin Rudd and Chris Evans in many cordial ways with their courageous mothballing of the Christmas Island detention centre and the virtual abandonment of the policy of mandatory detention."
"It's not as if the policy announcements by Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans needed any more prodding from the tens of thousands of advocates, activists, citizen protesters or lawyers and migration agents who have worked incessantly since the 2001 election to support asylum seekers who suffered clear torture, vilification, false imprisonment and sustained multiple as well as compound mental health problems as a result of their detention in a clearly dehumanising environment, and who hammered continuously on their politicians' office doors to end this inhumanity in our nation."
The treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, especially following the "Tampa election" in 2001, provided the trigger for the establishment of human rights organisation Project SafeCom, and since that time I have staffed the office from my home and later in South Fremantle, most of the time being available up to 18 hours a day for seven days a week, simply because the shocking policies of mandatory detention John Howard style were by principle and design so gruesome, that no rest could be allowed to those who truly understood what really was happening in our country," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"John Howard, with the consent of his party, and in many ways the lack of furious opposition from the then opposition Labor party, has inflicted lifelong psychological damage to thousands of people who fled from war or oppression zones to Australia because they trusted Australia as a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention, just because he wanted to win an election. There can not be found in Australian history, substantially speaking, a greater crime against humanity, than this manipulative act by a prime minister."
"We delight in the in principle ending of this atrocious policy, and we look forward to hearing the details from Minister Evans in his Canberra speech tomorrow."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]