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Refugees - remove the stains on Australia's record



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Senator Sid Spindier Australian Democrats Spokesperson on Law & Justice and Ethnic Affaire

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16 February 1996 MEDIA RELEASE 9 6 / 1 11 )

Refugees - Remove the Stairii'do Australia's hum ane and prindpled stance on refugee issues.

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The Australian Democrats today challenged the Government and the Coalition to adopt a m o r · ? ■ " -■ · ϊ !

Releasing the Democrats' Election Statem ent on R efugees a t a D inner organised by D e m o crat, Candidate for Gellibrand, Mr Nguyen The Khiet, Senator Spindier said: '■] ' . . . .

'T he recent death of a Vietnamese refugee and the wounding of. several others In the Malaysian ’< Sungei Beisi Cam p related to the forced repatriation o f Viemam ese refugees lends new urgency to .;. \ - this issue. S o d o es the use of 200 troops by the Philippine Government to arrest 80 refugees prior to their forced repatriation. ..................... .......................

The Keating Government's treatment of asylum seekera i s a black mark on A u s tra lis hum an rights f record, according to the Australian Democrat Spokesperson on Law and Justice, arid Ethnic Affairs,: Senator Sid Spindier. I ; : " - ;

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"40,000 desperate Vietnamese refugees in cam ps ·throughout,the region are Indicative o f the:· ‘ haphazard and often corrupt assessm ent process whibh has sentenced them to be sen t to certain persecution in Vietnam. I ‘ " a'..;::;- "■

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"In total disregard for basic human rights the Keatind Qoyemi^ent and the Uberal/National Party - ^ Coalition are hiding behind these corrupt assessm ent^ and are participating in a cruet an d sleazy trafficking in human lives.

"In this, a s in the East Timor issue, the Keating Government is out of step with the basic principle», /" . of fairness, and justice Australians expect their governments to follow. . . . : ,

"The next Australian Government must accept responsibility for carrying out refugee a ssessm en ts of asylum seekers wanting to come here. i . . . . .

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"It must also join the US Government in its efforts to ■©view the ajdequacy of the administration o f the refugee resettlement process by UNHCR. ; . , -

"It is an opportunity for Mr Howard to commit a Coalitic ri Government to a more principled stan ce o n " '■} refugee issues. " : :

"Finally, it m ust give immediate priority to process appl cations from family members of Vietnam ese ■ ,. ; refugees already in Australia, Senator Spindier coritiudedJ '

♦Dinner - Friday 16 February 1996,6.30 pm, Anti Hong Restaurant, 45 Leeds St. Footscray . j . ( .. ' /; ■

For further information, contact Sid Spindier dni(03)9416 1880 or after hours dh (03) 9859 5607. ; ; .

Keep the Bastards Honest

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Keep the Bastards Honest ' ' A U S T R A L I A N ■

D E M O C R A T S

Election Statement on Refugees

The treatment of asylum seekers is a measure of a, country's adherence to basic human frights principles.

REFUGEE ASSESSMENT

The Democrats have consistently fought for the princij

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itethat asylum seekers should b e given equal-

treatment to any other person before Australian courts. Accordingly, we insist that people applying , H for refugee status should be: ! i '

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e advised of their legal rights, Including the rlgtit to legal advice and representation : : 1 .

• provided with that advice and with Interpreter services.

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NO BARBED WIRE* DETENTION

Asylum seekers applying for refugee status should not be Incarcerated In remote areas such as Port . L Hedland where contact with legal advisers, school attendance for children a n d . adequate accommodation and other services is rendered diffici lit if not impossible. Instead, asylum seekers .... should be released Into the custody of church groups and community organisations, many of which

have offered to accept responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers. ..........

VIETNAMESE REFUGEES

This group illustrates the totally unacceptable refusal ay the Keating government, supported by the Uberal/Natlonal Party Coalition, to accept responsibility for determining the refugee status of applicants.

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Instead, the two old parties are hiding behind the sc-called Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) under which Australia can and does refuse access to Australian assessm ent procedures If the applicant has been previously rejected by a CPA member state such a s Indonesia, Malaysia or Thailand. The Keating government Is persisting with th s shabby denial of basic human rights despite : .

evidence that the assessm ent procedures In other countries, particularly In the Indonesian centre of Galang, are corrupt

The Democrats are pressing the other parties to meat their humanitarian obligations to the Vietnarrieee ' community:

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to give Immediate priority under the family, reunion program to the spouses and dependent ■ _ -; . ' children of Vietnamese asylum seekers who have been granted permanent residence -, " '; . this principle applies also to refugees; from other ethnic communities . : / v , / : :

to reject the often corrupt and inadequate determination on refugee status carded out by \ - ; ‘ ...........................................' - ' ' spons.......· · - — ------------------- " :.... other countries and to meet Australians responsibility to cany out assessm ents through our processes ; I j. ' . . -

to review the performance of UNHCR authorities and to take corrective action.

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Authorised and Printed by Senator Sid Splndler 62 Wellington Pde East Melbourne

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