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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, May 09, 2005

Petition the powers that be

Refugee advocates Project Safecom are pushing for a Royal Commission into asylum seeker policy. The petition reads as follows:

We, the undersigned petitioners, citizens and residents of the Australian Commonwealth: Request from the House of Representatives:

- to establish, as a matter of the highest priority, a Royal Commission into the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and immigration detainees from the introduction of mandatory detention, with particular reference to the period of Howard government. Your petitioners therefore ask the House to ensure that this inquiry includes investigations into:

• conditions, incidents and events, in Australian and 'Pacific Solution' detention centres & all other forms of immigration detention and prisons, police lock-ups, home detention, including how incidents were acted upon and followed up;

• engagement and administration of the contract between ACM and the Commonwealth of Australia from 1997-2004 incl., and Group 4Falck from 2003 onwards; and the conduct of ACM and GSL in their operation of IDCs;

• the sinking of SIEVX and the possible role of AFP, ASIS and agents recruited, equipped or tasked by either AFP or ASIS;

• whether the Howard government influenced ADF & other Commonwealth agencies to suppress information about interception procedures and measures regarding Australia's rescue obligations to refugee claimants attempting to reach Australia in SIEVs;

• into deaths of immigration detainees including the adequacy of any previous investigations and responses to their deaths, and unnatural deaths of TPV holders in the community;

• compliance of the TPV regime with international refugee law and its impact on the human rights of refugees on TPV's;

• whether a bias was present or created in refugee assessment and review;

• the effects of preventing due access by lawyers, media agents and the public in order to assess, assist, support and report;

• whether obstructions were caused to the unfettered access to all aspects of legal recourse during assessment, review and appeals;

• the effects of government policies on their physical and mental health and that of their families and dependants;

• damage and disruption to asylum seekers' lives, family and career plans;

• deportees and their fate upon return;

• and into the cost to the Australian community of these policies.

This Inquiry also should address accountability mechanisms and remedies, compensation, etc available for persons who have suffered violations of human rights as a result of Australia's refugee and immigration detention regime.


Anonymous tony said...

Love to see it, but it's got a snowball's chance of getting up.

Monday, May 09, 2005 12:28:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I agree. Bugger all chance really, but well worth a shot. Talk about it, blog about it etc...

Monday, May 09, 2005 12:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Charlie said...

This would be great but the most important question isn't there; Does the Mandatory Detention regime constitute a crime against humanity, and if it does, what action should be taken against those who initiated it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 4:24:00 pm  

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