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Monday, 16 September 1996
Page: 3498

To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:

The petition of the undersigned shows:

1.   Deaths, suicides, abuses:

The current forced repatriation of Vietnamese refugees in Asian camps has led to tremendous sufferings. In the last few months up to mid-July 1996, these include: at least 5 reported refugee deaths by suicide, shooting, and beating; some 80 refugees passively resisted a forced repatriation operation on 29 June in Thailand by stabbing their own stomachs; suicide attempts by at least a dozen refugees when forcibly repatriated from Malaysia during May; and thousands of refugees have also suffered injuries, physical and sexual abuses by personnel conducting forced repatriation exercises;

2.   Recognised refugees forcibly repatriated:

A number of people recognised by UN High Commissioner for Refugees as refugees have been forcibly repatriated, for example Mr Nguyen Huu Nghia PST8452 from Thailand on 29 June 1996, who was then harassed and put under surveillance by Vietnamese authorities.

3.   Returnees persecuted—Report published:

Under the Comprehensive Plan of Action, UNHCR was obliged to monitor their safety. Despite UNHCR's attempts to cover up incidents of persecution which it is fully aware of, evidence to the contrary has started to surface. In July 1996 a report compiling such evidence—public information from Vietnamese internal security forces, leaked documents from UNHCR, and testimony from victims—was released by the Vietnamese Australian community.

Your petitioners respectfully ask tat the Australian Parliament urgently express its grave concerns about the use of forced repatriation, particularly of recognised refugees.