Forcible deportation stopped for now - 19/11/11
( click here for example letter to Minister Bowen)
From Asylum Seekers Christmas Island :
On Saturday, the Minister for Immigration intends to forcibly return the first asylum seeker to Afghanistan under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the two states earlier this year.
Ismail is an ethnic Hazara who fled Afghanistan after his father was killed by the Taliban for his imputed association with the political group Hezbe-e-Wahdat. At his mother’s urging, he was assisted by people smugglers to escape Afghanistan and has spent the last 11 years trying to seek safety from any country that will provide him protection and a chance at life.
Arriving in Australia by plane in January 2010, Mr Mirzajan has been detained in Villawood Immigration Detention centre for the past two years. During his time he has witnessed 3 suicides and the devastation of the riots that took place earlier this year. Now the government is set to forcibly return him to the very country he’s been running from for the past 11 years, deeming that it he faces no credible threat of harm.
It is one thing to determine that someone is not owed protection under the Refugee Convention. It is another thing entirely to deem it safe to send someone into a volatile warzone into the direct path of serious harm
In the first 6 months of 2011, the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose sharply, with a 15% rise in conflict-related civilian deaths compared to the same time in 2010. The security situation continues to deteriorate as international forces prepare to handover to Afghan national forces.
Ismail will be returning to a place where he has no family or networks to protect or assist him. His family fled to neighbouring Pakistan where they too live in fear of the increasing violence and conflict. In a country rife with corruption, and reports of human rights abusesbeing committed not only by insurgents but Afghan state agencies themselves, exactly what guarantee does the government have that Ismail will be safe? Can the Minister genuinely justify sending someone, if not to their immediate death, then to a place where he will live in fear of his life every single day, without any kind of formal or informal protection?
Under the Migration Act, the Minister for Immigration has discretionary power to allow a person to remain in Australia if it is deemed within the public interest.
We implore the Minister to reconsider Ismail’s case and intervene on humanitarian grounds. As Ismail himself said, “I told Immigration it's OK if they send me, you can send my dead body to my country because either way I'm dead.”