Edmund Rice advocate defends deported drug offender

Director of the Edmund Rice Centre in Sydney, Phil Glendenning, has spoken out on behalf of Robert Jovicic, a stateless permanent Australian resident who was recently deported to Serbia because he has a criminal record.

CLICK HEREJovicic, whose heritage is Serbo-Croatian, was born in France, but has lived in Australia since the age of 2. He never applied for citizenship. Serbian authorities have refused to accept him.

Labor's immigration spokesman, Tony Burke, told ABC TV's Lateline last night that the deportation of Robert Jovicic to a country in which he had never set foot is an example of disproportionate punishment. He said that where an Australian citizen would have served a short jail term and moved on, Mr Jovicic has had his life ruined.

Meanwhile Phil Glendenning, who led the team from the Edmund Rice Centre and Australian Catholic University that produced the landmark Deported to Danger report that criticised apparently unscrupulous deportation practices of Australia's Immigration Deparatment, called for a more human approach to Mr Jovacic's case.

"First of all this gentleman needs to be allowed to come home, to be with his family who can care for him as he recovers from the physical and mental problems that he has," he told ABC Radio's AM this morning. "Secondly, the Federal Government needs to stop deporting people out of this coutnry on papers that are questionable. We can no longer have a situation where we deport people, we dump them, and we leave them."

"The fact that the Serbian authorities have withdrawn any sense of his citizenship of that country based upon the fact that those are the questions that have been raised about the paperwork with which he was deported, provided to him by a family member many many years ago."

ABC Radio AM 24/11/05 - transcript to come
Jovicic's deportation 'disproportionate punishment' (ABC TV Lateline 23/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Edmund Rice Centre | Deported to Danger

Catholic Welfare awards Edmund Rice lobbyist (CathNews 24/10/05)
Edmund Rice Centre accuses Govt of 'people smuggler tactics' (CathNews 15/9/05)
Catholic advocate urges better immigration policy scrutiny (CathNews 10/5/05)
Detention stuff-ups no surprise to Edmund Rice researchers (CathNEws 3/5/05)
Church call for scrutiny of plight of all detainees (CathNews 11/2/05)
Refugee advocate tells Jesuit seminar that democracy requires honesty (CathNews 24/2/05)
Fears for Bakhtiyaris' safety after deportation (CathNews 24/12/04)
Edmund Rice Centre claims at least 35 refugees sent back to danger (CathNews 29/9/04)

Report prompts calls for easing tensions with Islam, easing asylum (Catholic News Service 18/11/05)
Priest declares Alvarez's return home a 'miracle' (The Advertiser 21/11/05)

24 Nov 2005