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Minister To Deport Sick Man Against Medical Advice

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
MEDIA RELEASE 22/11/04
MINISTER to DEPORT SICK MAN AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE

Minister Vanstone has ordered the deportation of a man, diagnosed by Professor Patrick McGorry of the University of Melbourne, Department of Psychiatry, as suffering from a major depression and requiring treatment as an inpatient in a hospital. A previous attempt at deportation on 19/10/04, failed when the man
became extremely distressed and threatened to harm himself. Malaysian Airlines have now refused to carry the man ‘ in spite of long and deep discussions with DIMIA’.

Although the Captain in charge of an airline can refuse to carry a passenger, the Australian government has the power under the Migration Act, to compel “a vessel” to remove a person. This power has been exercised to compel a ship to remove a person who has arrived as a stowaway, but not so far an airline.

The man has been on a hunger strike last month and weighs only 51kgs. He also has a condition affecting his hands and feet where the fingers and toes are permanently swollen and the nails are lifting off. Although he has been in detention, this condition has been untreated.

“This man fled his country when rebels attacked his family and sacked the jewellery shop which he ran with his brother and father. His father had a heart attack and died, his brother fled to Italy where he is living today, recognised as a refugee. This man has been refused protection in Australia, like so many asylum seekers, because Australia unlike other countries, offers no Humanitarian Visas for those who do not qualify under the narrow definition of the Refugee Convention but who still are in need of protection,” says Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Refugee advocates and friends are asking the minister to allow the man who has been in Australia for nine years, working and paying tax for seven of those years, to receive medical treatment, before sending him back.

Contact Pamela Curr campaign coordinator ASRC 0417 517 075

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