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Refugee activist says Australia is violating law

media release

Refugee activist says Australia is violating international law.

An Australian refugee rights activist visiting Wellington this week says the Australian government is violating international law by turning away and imprisoning refugees.

Simon O'Neill, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Collective in Melbourne, is in Wellington this week for a public meeting and protest against the Australian Governments treatment of refugees

"The Australian government has used racist scapegoating of refugees to whip up paranoia and fear, in order to portray itself as tough and keep its tenuous hold on power in the recent elections," said Simon O'Neill.

"Refugees are imprisoned and turned away in violation of international law including the 1951 Refugee Convention. Temporary visas with limited rights are granted to those successfully prove their refugee status."

"In solidarity with the millions of people fleeing persecution around the world and those imprisoned in Australia and around the Pacific, we call for the right to flee persecution and claim refugee status to be upheld by developed nations such as Australia and New Zealand", he said.

Members of the Refugee Action Collective, along with local supporters, will be holding a protest at the Australian High Commission at 12.15 Tuesday 11th December 2001

Australian High Commission 72-78 Hobson St, Thorndon, Wellington

Simon O'Neill can be contacted on 021 158 6554
have a website at http://www.rac-vic.org/

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