Viet boatpeople on Christmas Island get TPVs
MEDIA RELEASE 28 July 2005 – For immediate release
All remaining 13 Viet boatpeople on Christmas Island get TPVs
The Vietnamese Community in Australia welcomes the Immigration Minister's decision today to grant Temporary Protection Visas to the above people who have been held in Christmas Island since they arrived in Australia in July 2003.
"We applaud the Minister's decision, which accords with the Australian ethos of helping people facing persecution", said Mr. Doan, General Secretary of the Vietnamese Community in Australia.
All of the other 40 fellow asylum seekers on the same boat, "Hao Kiet", have previously been given refugee status. They all are in virtually identical circumstances, having been involved in dropping pro-democracy leaflets. The Hanoi regime, which kills or imprisons anyone who disagrees with the one-Party rule it has written into Vietnam's Constitution, would harshly punish them if Australia returns them.
"We call on the Australian Government to drop people-smuggling charges on 2 of the people on that boat. One is now recognised as a refugee, the other is an Australian citizen, neither gains any profit from organising the escape voyage, yet both have been given 5-year sentences. The people-smuggling law is meant to target criminals who organise trips for profit, not asylum seekers who flee persecution with their loved ones. If the Governmentcontinues fighting the court appeal, this is not only a waste of public money, importantly it undermines the public's respect for the Government's ability to apply the law as the Parliament intended", said Mr. Simon Nguyen, President of the West Australian Chapter of the Vietnamese Community in Australia.
"Our community organisation and members of our Vietnamese Australian community will, as we have done so with others, assist these people with their resettlement needs to help them to quickly become productive and taxpaying members of the community. I am confident that they will become some Australians' good neighbours, workmates, or classmates", continued Mr. Nguyen.
"We are grateful to everyone who have helped bring this wonderful result about.
- From our legal advisor, Mr. Farid Varess of Craddock Murray Neumann;
- to the many Australians, such as Kaye Bernard in Perth and Charlene Thompson on Christmas Island who have turned from a housewife and a social worker into refugee advocates;
- to Australian NGOs such as Rural Australians for Refugees and ChillOut;
- to the numerous key Australians who have taken part in the debate for a more compassionate refugee policy, such as Olympic great Betty Cuthbert, Dr. Mary Crock, Mr. Gerard Henderson;
- to parliamentarians such as Senators Andrew Bartlett, Bob Brown, MP Petro Georgiou;
- to Vietnamese media in Australia, such as Vietnam Sydney Radio which has helped raise money for their legal fighting fund;
- to the thousands of Vietnamese Australians who have given money or written to advocate for them; all have helped to ensure that these deserving people, who face severe persecution by a ruthless and corrupt regime, are helped by Australia", concluded Mr. Doan.