Greens – 900 refugees are in detention limbo because of ASIO
March 3, 2011 Comments Off on Greens – 900 refugees are in detention limbo because of ASIO
Australian Greens Press Release ( 02/03) – 900 Genuine Refugees In Limbo And Waiting for Answers
The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security should immediately review the cases of the 900 refugees who are currently in detention awaiting security assessment, the Australian Greens said.
“In Senate Estimates (Monday last week) when questioning the Immigration Department, I was astounded to learn that 900 people who have been found to be genuine refugees are still languishing in detention simply because of ASIO’s back-log,” said the Greens’ Immigration Spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
“Many of these 900 refugees have been detained for over 12 months, including families with small children.”
“These refugees are stuck in a terrible legal limbo. Having been found to be in genuine need of protection, they can’t be returned home for fear of persecution. Yet, they can’t be released into the Australian community until ASIO completes their security assessment. They are simply forced to wait indefinitely.”
“These people are being denied natural justice. Those who are found to have an adverse security assessment are not provided with any reason for the decision or given an opportunity to respond. With no time limit for ASIO to complete these assessments, the immigration department has admitted that this means the indefinite detention of genuine refugees.”
“It seems the Government has forgotten their policy of ending indefinite detention – leaving these 900 men, women and children to languish in detention for no one knows how long,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
New Zealand have independent oversight of their security agency’s decisions, in relation to asylum seekers. The Greens are investigating the potential for a similar approach here in Australia:
“Of course there must be a security assessment process, but this should be accountable and not shrouded in secrecy.”
“The Government should ensure there is accountability and procedural fairness within the Australian system, by charging the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security with performing similar functions,” said Senator Hanson-Young.
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