Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Adelaide Centacare critical of Govt over refugee return

Adelaide Centacare director Dale West is urging the Federal Government not to force or coerce asylum seekers to return to dangerous countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to SBS, Mr West says the Government must not indicate it is safe to return to those countries when Australian citizens are discouraged from going there.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises on its website: "The security environment in Iraq remains extremely dangerous, as underscored by continuing terrorist activity, kidnapping and other attacks against Iraqi and foreign civilians." With regard to Afghanistan, the Department says: "The security situation is particularly dangerous outside of Kabul".

Mr West's comments follow concern from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees that some countries are pressuring Iraqi asylum seekers to return to Iraq.

He says people now in community detention or immigration detention centres are being pressured, both subtly and overtly, to return to their countries of origin.

"There's no doubt in my mind that partly it's a political thing," he said. "But also when you've got something like 9000 people who are on temporary protection visas and the government doesn't seem to have an exit strategy, they seem to be in a rut when it comes to knowing how to deal with those issues, then every person who does yield to the pressure that the government might be putting on them to return to their country of origin is one less person they have to be concerned about.

Last month, researchers from the Sydney-based Edmund Rice Centre and the Australian Catholic University said Australia has deported at least 35 rejected asylum seekers into dangerous situations and needs to urgently reform its refugee protection system. Their report said that in their push to get rid of detainees, authorities "often took a reckless" view of the dangers faced once asylum seekers are deported.

Govt under fire over refugee return (SBS 25/10/04)

Govt urged not to pressure asylum seekers to leave (ABC West Coast SA 25/10/04)
Countries for which we advise against all travel (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
UN appeals against forced return of Iraqi refugees (ABC 23/10/04)
Iraq war refugees stranded in desert camps face another gloomy Ramadan (Khaleej Times/AFP 21/10/04)
Refugees sent back to danger: claim (The Age 29/9/04)
Edmund Rice Centre | No Liability - Investigation into the fare of deported asylum seekers | Download Document
Report slams Govt treatment of rejected asylum seekers (ABC 28/9/04)
Deportees sent into danger: report (Sydney Morning Herald 29/9/04)
Home is where the hurt is (Sydney Morning Herald 29/9/04)
Report critical of Govt treatment of rejected asylum seekers (ABC TV Lateline 28/9/04)
Edmund Rice Centre supports mother who fears son will be 'recruited' (CathNews 27/9/04)
Edmund Rice Centre claims at least 35 refugees sent back to danger (CathNews 29/9/04)
Centacare director 'devastated' by Govt demands (CathNews 30/6/04)
Bakhtiyari decision 'devastating' (Southern Cross July 2004)
Honoured advocate says Pope against detaining children (CathNews 3/3/04)
Centacare calls for extension of Regional Visa scheme to asylum seekers (CathNews 14/1/04)
Centacare Adelaide tells why asylum seeker committed suicide (CathNews 10/2/03)
Centacare director pressuring Govt to release detention centre video (CathNews 8/11/02)
Adelaide Centacare slams Govt deaf ears on child detainee report (CathNews 14/5/03)
Adelaide Centacare optimistic about fate of child detainees (CathNews 29/7/03)

26 Oct 2004