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Yonglin's claims make a Moritorium on Deportations

Yonglin's claims make a Moritorium on Deportations Imperative

Tuesday June 7 2005

The ACT Refugee Action Committee and WA advocacy group Project SafeCom today call for a moratorium on deportation without fair and independent hearing of evidence.

On 2 June speaking on ABC TV News, Marion Le, prominent human rights Advocate, called for a moratorium on deportation until an independent assessment of each case is carried out. This won quick support from many Canberrans who have been phoning RAC in the light of Marion's call and of the request for asylum of the Chinese official, Chen Yonglin.

Many Australians know asylum seekers personally now and have grave concerns for their safety if deported to countries where there is insufficient security to keep them safe or where persecution or torture is endemic.

As one caller expressed it: "The Minister herself admits the Department is overworked." Marion Le admitted that she has found sometimes information is not put in to the correct files and judgements continue to be made on the basis of known errors."

Australians don't expect everyone who asks will be allowed to stay here but Australians don't want to see on the front pages of an international newspaper the emaciated body of young Chinese or other asylum seekers or families deported from Australia because the department mixed up files or was too busy or too "encultured" to consider the evidence.

Jane Keogh, a Brigidine Sister who has been advocating for Tang Xianhui, is very worried about this young Chinese man who recently rode his bicycle from Melbourne to Canberra in a last ditch bid to escape what he believes will be three years in one of the notorious Chinese "re-education" camps where torture is endemic.

Sr Keogh says many have seen the research, the photos, the testimonies and the pages of United Nations detailed and itemised reports and believe Tang's chances of being submitted to a daily regime of torture are about 99%.

"Yet", she says "I phoned the department only to be told that their evidence from the Department of Defence and Trade says ordinary Falun Gong people are not in danger.

It would be a joke if a man's life did not depend on it.

It's time the government led DIMIA culture of subterfuge and lying to either win points or protect trade relationships is undone.

The Government's response to the claims of Chen Yanglin this week that he could not in conscience continue to persecute

"innocent and socially vulnerable Falun Gong practitioners ... put into labour camps and forced education courses..(that) have caused a good number of deaths", is predictible. Leave him out of sight and we can pretend China isn't following a campaign to obliterate Falun Gong people through extreme and gruesome torture.

Anyone wanting the facts has only to check the detailed United Nations Special Reports and survivors' photographic testimonies assembled at . Copies of these reports and photos were submitted by Tang in his appeal to have his case reopened.

Our government has recently given Chinese officials access to asylum seekers in Villawood and Baxter, a move that puts their families in real danger back in China. If John Howard, Amanda Vanstone and Peter McGauran put their hands up now to deport Tang Xianhui and the other genuine Falun Gong people they will have blood on their hands.

We have a system where from behind closed doors, without answering to anyone, the Minister or someone lower down in the chain can sign someone to be deported to certain persecution and torture without ever seriously considering the evidence presented. A closed system in which no one is answerable is an invitation to mistakes and prejudice or, in the case of the Chinese or Iranian asylum seekers, to sacrificing lives for the sake of not embarrassing a trade partner.

RAC also calls on all members of parliament to consider the issue of deportation and to call in parliament for the precautionary principle to be invoked until the culture and mistakes of the department of immigration are identified and addressed.


© Scoop Media

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