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Alliance says bring back deported teen


Bring back deported teen

The deported Sri Lankan teenager and her grandmother should be immediately returned to New Zealand.

Alliance president Jill Ovens says the decision to deport the two women was cruel and heartless and should be reversed.

The Alliance is also calling on Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor to resign, given that his assurances that the teenager was being placed in safe and lasting care have turned out to be false.

"For this, he should resign," she says.

"It is clear to everyone that the teenager was in no fit state to travel, that arrangements made for her care on arrival in Sri Lanka were not well thought through, and that she is about to be separated from the only person she trusts."

According to reports on National Radio this morning, she is illegally in the care of Catholic nuns rather than the State, because she is under age, and authorities in Sri Lanka are now planning to place her in care without her grandmother. The nuns are said to be extremely concerned about her medical condition.

O'Connor says his officials know nothing of the plan, which makes matter worse.

"The New Zealand Government cannot wash its hands of the matter. They justified the deportation on the basis that she would be better off in her own country. Clearly she is not. That is why her grandmother and mother went to such extraordinary attempts to bring her here."

Ms Ovens says O'Connor's actions and those of his Ministry are not the actions of a Government that has as one of its basic principles the protection of human rights.

"Sexual abuse, especially when it is over a sustained period of time, is a form of torture as serious as any form of political torture and we should be able to find room for someone who has fled her homeland to avoid continued abuse and retribution."

Ms Ovens says it is nonsense to suggest that the Associate Minister could not have used his discretion because that would have set a precedent for future behaviour.

"It is precisely to avoid setting precedents that we the people have given Ministers discretionary power!"

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