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Detention for Refugees opposed, welcome is planned

JUSTICE FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS

BOX 68419,

Newton,

Auckland

25 September, 2001

MEDIA RELEASE:
Detention for Refugees opposed and a welcome is planned.

The 'Tampa' refugees from Afghanistan will be given a people's welcome tomorrow Wednesday at 11 am outside the Mangere Immigration hostel. Participants will give a message of support and solidarity for this group of people who have been through so much suffering.

Justice for Asylum Seekers condemns the move to hold the refugees in detention and under security guard on their arrival. Letter to Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel is appended.

"There is no justification for discriminating against this group as opposed to others who come here seeking asylum in accordance with the United Nations Refugee Convention. This group have already faced unfair discrimination by the Australian government and been subjected to nightmare experiences which we can barely comprehend."

for further information Maire Leadbeater 09-376-9098 (cell 025-436-957)

JUSTICE FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS

BOX 68419,

Newton

Auckland.

Phone 09-630-3610 or 09-376-9098

Hon Lianne Dalziel,

Minister of Immigration,

Parliament Buildings,

Wellington.

24 September, 2001.

Fax 04- 499 0704

Dear Lianne Dalziel,

We write to express our strong opposition to the plans to hold the Afghan refugees in detention on their arrival in Auckland. We believe that is quite wrong to greet this very vulnerable group of people with a detention order, and then hold them confined behind fences guarded by lights and security guards.

These refugees have already been subject to appalling trauma and mistreatment. In the first place they have fled from one of the world's most brutal and repressive regimes and from a situation of poverty and deprivation. They have also had the face the terror of disaster at sea and then harsh and unjust treatment by the Australian authorities. They have been held in unsanitary and crowded conditions on the steel deck of the "Tampa", in makeshift camps in the sweltering heat of Nauru and now flown to a country that will seem totally unfamiliar.

These people have committed no crime and they are now in the same situation as other asylum seekers to who come here seeking our help because of a 'well-founded fear' of persecution. We should treat them as we treat other asylum seekers by affording them the care, protection and welcome that is their right under the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.

Yours sincerely,

Anna McHardy

Maire Leadbeater

(for Justice for Asylum Seekers)

(Phone 09-630-3610 or 09-376-9098)

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