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New Christmas Island detainees cannot be left 'out of sight, out of mind'

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Friday 21 November 2008

New Christmas Island detainees cannot be left ‘out of sight, out of mind’

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has called on Immigration Minister Chris Evans to ensure that a new group of suspected asylum seekers have any claims processed in a timely manner, and are treated humanely in line with the Government’s new immigration policies.

Twelve people who are thought to be asylum seekers were rescued from a sinking boat off northern Western Australia yesterday, and are being taken to Christmas Island.

“These people should be brought to mainland Australia for prompt processing of any claims for asylum,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Offshore processing of claims propagates an out of sight, out of mind attitude towards asylum seekers, who deserve timely attention from officials and community support.

“Testament to this approach is the fact that we have heard little about the progress of the last two groups of people to be taken to the Christmas Island detention facility.”

Senator Hanson-Young said that legislative change was needed to adequately protect the human rights of asylum seekers.

“The Minister’s good intentions alone are not adequate to protect human rights and justice,” she said.

“The Greens hope to see immigration legislation amended in the new year.

“In the meantime, we will be keeping a close eye on the welfare and progress of all detainees being held on Christmas Island.”

Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760