Killed asylum seeker details sent to DIMA

Relatives have granted permission for the Edmund Rice Centre to send to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs the names of two Afghani asylum seekers and three children who have been killed since their involuntary return from Nauru.

The Edmund Rice Centre was responding to Immigration Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone, who last week told the ABC she was unable to investigate the claims because of a lack of information.

Edmund Rice Centre Director Phil Glendenning says he had to seek permission before the details were provided.

"If someone is killed in a place like Afghanistan then we have to ensure that if we name them that their wives and families are safe," he said.

"Ethically we are bound and constrained to ensure that we get that permission before we can pass any information along."

He says the Minister should now act.

"If we can't ensure that the people we return are safe that means there are serious problems with our process of identifying refugees.

"The Edmund Rice Centre is committed to assisting the department with its investigation into the safety of returned asylum seekers," he added.

Edmund Rice researchers including Mr Glendenning, Paul Lane from the Lingiari Foundation in Broome and Martin Reusch, an interpreter and former resident of Kabul, had investigated the people's fate while conducting interviews with former asylum seekers in Kabul.

"We are committed to providing substantiated, corroborated and ethical research. Our research is overseen by a university ethics committee and an eminent team of professional consultants.

"As soon as we receive consent from an individual we will pass their details on to the department," Mr Glendenning said.

"The only information we have ever withheld from the department is the names of people who have asked us not to pass on their details.

"We are under an ethical obligation to respect this wish. However, we will work to encourage people to allow their details to be given to the department to allow further investigation."

Mr Glendenning said the Immigration Department now had ample information to begin an investigation.

Govt to get asylum seekers death details (Edmund Rice Centre, Media Release, 11/8/06)
Immigration given details of killed asylum seekers, group says (ABC News, 12/8/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Edmund Rice Centre

Off-shore processing failed dead asylum seekers: Edmund Rice (CathNews, 10/8/06)
Nine rejected asylum seekers killed: Edmund Rice Centre (CathNews, 8/8/06)
Detention stuff-ups no surprise to Edmund Rice researchers (CathNews, 3/5/05)
Edmund Rice Centre claims at least 35 refugees sent back to danger (CathNews, 29/9/04)
Bishops welcome release of detention centre children (CathNews, 26/8/03)

Vanstone account of Afghanis disputed (Ninemsn, 12/8/06)

14 Aug 2006