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A Belated Mother’s Day Appeal To PM Howard

PRESS RELEASE
8 May 2005 - Sydney, NSW

A BELATED MOTHER’S DAY APPEAL TO PM HOWARD, from immigrant and refugee women -

UNDERTAKE A ROYAL COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE THE DEPORTATION OF VIVIAN ALVAREZ WILSON

The Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association of NSW, a peak body of migrant and refugee women condemns the wrongful deportation of a Filipina migrant Vivian Alvarez Wilson who used to live in Brisbane, Queensland. Mrs Wilson’s case has been likened to that of Ms Cornelia Rau, a German migrant with mental disability who was detained at Baxter’s refugee detention facilities.

Reports by Australian media stated that Mrs Wilson told Philippine Consular officials that she has been held as a sex slave in an apartment in Spring Hill, Brisbane. Later she escaped and fled to Lismore New South Wales where she has had an accident while riding a bike. At that time the Philippine Consular officials spoke to her, she has physical injuries and was walking with a crutch. The Queensland police registered her as a missing person when she failed to pick up her son from the Brisbane City Council Child Care on 16 February 2001.

“This is one of the many cases of blunder by the Department of Immigration and Indigenous Affairs”, said Vivi Germanos–Koutsounadis, the Chairperson of the Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association of New South Wales. Ms Germanos-Koutsounadis further states that this case clearly manifests the racist and discriminatory character or results of the Howard government’s immigration policy and programs. She also emphasized the continuing isolation and gaps in services for women of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background.

The allegations of white slavery Ms Alvarez made should have led the Federal and State authorities to keep Ms Alvarez in Australia pending a full investigation into such a horrific crime. If true, such an experience may well explain the mental disorder affecting Ms Alvarez at the time of her detention and deportation. However, the secretiveness and the denial of basic human rights to detainees that is the policy of the Australian Government had led to the mistakes and oversights that caused the horrific suffering of Ms Alvarez and her child. It reveals the Government’s softness on crimes of sex slavery and trafficking in women that allows perpetuation of these outrages.

The Immigrant women’s Speakout Association of New South Wales calls on Prime Minister John Howard to -
immediately hold a Royal Commission to investigate the cases of wrongful detention and/or deportation in particular Vivian Alvarez Wilson
locate the victim and provide services
indemnify the victims and their families
immediately release all children in detention to the community
overhaul the procedures for detention and deportation to ensure the Rau and Alvarez cases are not repeated
abolish mandatory detention which produces such discriminatory and unfair results.

ENDS

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