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Democrats attack government's shameful action over deportation.

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Senator Lyn Allison Kate Reynolds

Australian Democrats Australian Democrats

Acting Leader Member of the SA Legislative Council

22 December 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/903

Democrats Attack Government’s Shameful Action Over Deportation

The Australian Democrats have criticised the Federal Government’s shameful treatment of a Kuwaiti man in his late twenties deported 10 days ago, only to end up stranded in Tanzania and then Johannesburg, with no country able to accept him.

Democrats’ Refugee spokesperson Kate Reynolds MLC said Eidreiss Sneman, who was born in Kuwait to Sudanese immigrant parents and has spent nearly three years in detention in Australia, had reportedly now been sent back to Johannesburg.

Mr Sneman was flown by the Australian Government to Johannesburg in South Africa, but was refused permission to continue on to Sudan, and instead was sent to Tanzania, where he was thrown into a game of ‘human hot potato’.

“The Federal Government cannot abrogate responsibility for this man. It has rejected his claim for asylum and attempted to remove him from Australia without securing the agreement of another country to accept him.

“The Democrats demand that the Government act to ensure Mr Sneman is returned immediately to Australia. Because he is ‘stateless’ and cannot be imprisoned indefinitely in Australia, the Government has no other option but to release him to live in Australia or provide proper assistance to find a new and safe country to live in.”

Ms Reynolds said, “However you look at it, the fate of this man is in the hands of the Australian Government.

“The Government was willing to send him away from Australian shores, without taking responsibility for the consequences.

“This disgraceful and possibly illegal treatment will not be condoned by Australian courts or international human rights bodies.

“Situations such as these highlight the secrecy of this Government, which refuses to provide details of its agreements with the South African Government relating to deportations.

“One way or another, the Federal Government is going to have come clean about how this sad and internationally embarrassing situation came about,” Ms Reynolds concluded.

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